Timmonsville residents vote on future of water supply

Timmonsville water problem
Source: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker
Source: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker

TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Residents of Timmonsville are heading to the polls Tuesday to decide what to do with their water supply.

Voting will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Timmonsville Educational Center and the Timmonsville National Guard Armory.

Residents met with Florence officials, DHEC representatives and the EPA at a public forum on June 19, discussing why they believed turning the water system's maintenance and authority over to Florence would be a good idea.

The benefits mentioned include improved property values and infrastructure.

Residents now have the opportunity to vote on whether they would like the water system turned over to the City of Florence. If a vote passes, Florence will absorb a $12 million debt to provide water for Timmonsville.

Sharon Bazen, who lives just feet from one of the sink holes that has opened up in Timmonsville as a result of the town's failing water system says the situation has made her "very, very, frustrated, there's no reason for this."

The sinkhole on her street popped up two weeks ago. "The day I saw what was going up was just the uh, netting, and the cones."

Brazen says she and her neighbors weren't told when the hole would be fixed, and they see it as a huge safety concern.

It's not just the sinkholes that worry the residents in Timmonsville. The water that's emerging from these holes is the same liquid that's seeping out of the faucets in their homes.

Susan Anthony says, "In the last year it has gotten worse and worse and worse. And our town is in trouble, but I realized they have done all they can do."

Anthony says bottled water has become the only choice when it comes to cooking and drinking.

"We haven't drunk the water for a very long time. We buy bottled water. We buy jugs of water for cooking we started using it for the pets," Anthony explains.

Some of Anthony's neighbors admit they have filters to siphon out some of the chemicals, but it doesn't always help. One resident demonstrated two brand new white shirts that are now beige after one wash in the town's water.

Still some people have faith in the town.

"All the bad publicity that the town has had. I just wanted to say something positive. I think sometimes things have to get really bad before they get better and I'm starting to see a turn around," one resident boasted.

Though Mayor Darrick Johnson assured Reporter Ken Baker that the water in the town is safe to drink, there is more than one sinkhole, and puddles and flooding has been spotted near some of the manholes.

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