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KCC discusses new Palmetto Utilities request

Posted: July 19, 2013 5:21 p.m.
Updated: July 22, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council spent time during a special work session Thursday discussing two items. One of those items was a request from Palmetto Utilities President Stan Jones. The request involves Palmetto Utilities applying for a permit to allow wastewater to be discharged into Spears Creek rather than the Wateree River. The move would place the discharge adjacent to an already established Palmetto Utilities treatment plant there.

According to Jones, the new discharge point would impact Spears Creek in a positive way due to the fact that it is already an “impaired stream.”

“How can discharging waste water into Spears Creek benefit Kershaw County in a positive way?” Vice Chairman Stephen Smoak asked.

“It’s already an impaired stream. The discharged water will dilute… There’s already a fecal issue with the stream,” Jones replied. “The quality of the water will be enhanced.”

Councilman C.R. Miles asked Jones about the way in which the discharged water would be treated, asking if chlorine would be used in the water. Jones assured Miles that Palmetto Utilities uses an ultraviolet system and not chlorine to filter the water.

Jones also said that the discharged water would, in appearance, “look very similar to drinking water.”

Smoak then asked what percentage of Palmetto Utilities’ customers are in Richland County versus Kershaw County. Jones responded by saying that his company serves about 1,000 customers in Kershaw County compared to between 12,000 and 15,000 in Richland County.

Councilman Jimmy Jones, no relation to Stan Jones, said he supports Palmetto Utilities’ request “all the way.”

Miles also asked Jones about the creeks’ capacity and how the discharge would affect it. Jones said that, like the Wateree River, there is no way to currently know Spears Creek’s capacity due to the amount of rain the area received recently.

County Attorney Ken DuBose, however, said that the difference between Spears Creek and the Wateree River involves a variety of factors, including the existing of the Wateree Dam and river’s higher volume of water.

Jones said that the entire permitting process -- consisting of public hearings and comments -- would take approximately six to seven months. He also said the proposal would be subject to change based on comments from these public hearings.

“If you don’t support us, don’t oppose us,” Jones told council after Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter asked how council would go about giving approval or disapproval.

Thursday, Council Vice Chairman Stephen Smoak said it will be important for the people of Kershaw County to weigh in on the request.

“We really need to look at the impact that this will have on Kershaw County now and in the future,” Smoak said.

The other item discussed at the work session deal with a study on all Kershaw County facilities by M.B. Kahn. A previously completed first step involved Kershaw County Recreation Department facilities. The new plan submitted during Thursday’s work session comprised the study’s second step.

“Some are in a very good state, some are in a very bad state,” Carpenter said.

According to the study, the facility needing the most attention is the Kershaw County Detention Center. The study state that it is over capacity, raking on the smaller size for its needs. Renovations and expansions to the detention center could cost around $8 million. The priciest renovation to be made to a Kershaw County facility, however, is that of the Kershaw County Courthouse which could be as much as around $20 million.

“I’m against additional expenditures on it,” Smoak said of the courthouse. “I think we need a new one at some point, though.”

United Way of Kershaw County Executive Director Donny Supplee attended the work session and presented council with a request to renew the lease of its building for another 10 years. Supplee said major expenses United Way wished to complete are paving of the parking lot and new air conditioning units. He also brought up the idea of a reserve fund. Supplee said the building needs an elevator which could probably be funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS) on the state level since DSS offices are on the building’s second floor.

“We would like to know sooner rather than later,” Supplee said.

Councilman Sammie Tucker referred to Supplee’s plan as being “excellent” and that the revenue plan is a good idea.

While the detention center and courthouse renovations and expansions need the most attention facility wise, the sheriff’s office needs the least, according to the study.

“We can’t do it all at once,” Smoak said. “Overall it looks like a good plan.”

Council will meet in regular session Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. On the agenda are second reading of an ordinance to amend Kershaw County Procurement Code Section 2-37. The amendment would require council to be informed of any purchase of more than $25,000 with an explanation of the circumstance of each. In new business, council will take up a paving bid award and an appointment to the Kershaw County Library Board.

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