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Palmetto Utilities request reappears on KCC agenda

Posted: March 20, 2015 3:28 p.m.
Updated: March 23, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Less than a year ago, in April 2014, Palmetto Utilities Inc., a Richland County-based company with a wastewater treatment facility along Spears Creek in Kershaw County, asked Kershaw County Council to officially support its application for a permit to discharge wastewater into the creek. Currently, Palmetto utilizes a sandpit treatment method.

By August 2014, Palmetto’s president, Stan Jones, announced he was withdrawing the permit application because he felt council was against the application.

Now, Palmetto Utilities is back on council’s agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting, again seeking permission to discharge up to 6 million gallons of treated wastewater a day into Spears Creek.

“It’s basically Palmetto Utilities looking at getting a permit to discharge treated wastewater into Spears Creek,” Carpenter said Friday afternoon. “The staff put it on the agenda so it can come before the council.”  

In other business Tuesday, council is scheduled to give third readings and final approval of three ordinances related to the county’s takeover of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on July 1. KershawHealth currently handles EMS operations, but is divesting itself of the service as negotiations proceed for the hospital to be sold to Capella Healthcare, a for-profit company in Tennessee. If the deal goes through as planned, Capella will operate KershawHealth in conjunction with MUSC Health, the patient care arm of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Council agreed to take over EMS in exchange for a $2.6 million payment from KershawHealth at the time the Capella deal closes. The money represents funds needed to operate EMS until the county begins collecting taxes or fees-in-lieu-of taxes from Capella in February 2017. Council also voted to give up any interest in KershawHealth’s real estate.

Public hearings for each ordinance will be held ahead of Tuesday’s votes. The first ordinance authorizes the county to issue a “quit claim” to relegate the ownership of the property to KershawHealth. The second authorizes the county to begin spending some of the $2.6 million to prepare for the EMS takeover. County Administrator Vic Carpenter has reported some EMS facilities need to be obtained or upgraded and some equipment needs to be purchased prior to July 1. The third ordinance establishes an “industrial park” consisting of KershawHealth’s property. Carpenter has said the industrial park is in conjunction with Chesterfield County and is a “paper only” deal which does not include any new construction nor investment from the county.

Also related to the EMS acquisition, the purchase of two new ambulances is up for discussion, and  -- with the county getting closer to the July 1 takeover date -- the county is writing a personnel policy concerning EMS employees. Council will discuss the proposed policy during Tuesday’s meeting.

Under new business, council will have a report on the results of a planning retreat members attended Feb. 6 and 7. Council will also discuss a proposal to change how appointments are made to the Planning and Zoning Board. It has been suggested board members could be appointed to represent certain districts of the county, rather than “at large.”

Also on the agenda: a Library Board appointment; discussion of modifications to the county’s sewer plan; and seven agreements between the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and sheriff’s offices in adjacent counties are up for council approval.

Such agreements are routine, but have to be renewed periodically. Darlington, Florence, Lexington, Richland, Fairfield and Lancaster counties, plus the 20th Mission Support Group, which is a U.S. law enforcement agency governing parts Lake Wateree.

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