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Noted and passed - Aug. 18, 2014

Posted: August 15, 2014 12:32 p.m.
Updated: August 18, 2014 6:00 a.m.

• Here in Kershaw County, we don’t think about bridges much, unless it’s the spans crossing the Lynches and Wateree rivers on U.S. 1, I-20 and other roads. Many bridges in our county are small, made of wood or pipes used as culverts. They cross streams and branches of creeks and -- according to our recent two-part story -- not in the greatest shape. Some state-owned bridges are in the process of being repaired or replaced with state and/or federal funds. But many others are owned by the county. All but two currently open bridges that cross bodies of water and a few that are closed need to be repaired or replaced, and it’s not a cheap proposition. Just conducting repairs could cost $95,000. Replacing all the bridges that need replacing and repairing the others could cost $4.19 million. Money is, of course, hard to come by, even for our county government. Yet, we would argue -- based on Friday’s installment of our series -- that something needs to be done about these bridges. A study conducted in 2013 prioritized the bridges by how structurally deficient they are. Addressing those might be too costly to start with, though. Perhaps looking at these bridges by traffic volume, or how important they are in connecting main roads, transporting goods or ensuring residents have access onto and off their properties, is another way to go. No matter how Kershaw County Council looks at these bridges in January when it starts its Fiscal Year 2016 budget planning, they cannot be ignored.

• That was some storm last Tuesday, wasn’t it? Some of us here at the C-I were hard-pressed to remember an hour of non-stop, heavy rain (3 to 4 inches, by most counts) and numerous lightning strikes quite like it. Perhaps the most telling statistic came from Lugoff Fire-Rescue (LF-R) Chief Dennis Ray: LF-R crews answered 11 calls in one hour alone, including helping out with a warehouse fire in Elgin. Roads flooded in both Camden and Elgin, and we’re sure in other places we did not hear about. Luckily, the storm didn’t last long and most of the water cleared off after not too long a while. The good news was evident in our coverage: Kershaw County and its communities are lucky to have the law enforcement officers and firefighting crews that we have here, along with dedicated public works employees. They had planned ahead, kept us safe and responded quickly. As tough as Tuesday night was for some, each and every experience makes these brave public servants even more prepared for the next storm.

• Back in late April, we wrote that it was difficult to understand a request by Richland County-based Palmetto Utilities for Kershaw County Council to endorse its permit application to discharge treated wastewater into Spears Creek near its treatment plant. We noted that, a decade ago, Kershaw County fought hard -- successfully -- to keep Palmetto from discharging into Kershaw County’s portion of the Wateree River. In 2007, it rejected a proposed public-private partnership with Palmetto on a county sewer line/treatment plant project. We stated in April that we didn’t think anything had changed. Apparently, Palmetto Utilities President Stan Jones agreed, withdrawing his permit request from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The simple fact remains this: while Palmetto does have customers in Kershaw County, the bulk of its customers are in Richland County, and Kershaw County -- rightfully so, in our opinion -- does not want to be negatively impacted by another county’s wastewater.

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