Walhalla faces water system penalty

Walhalla’s water system has run afoul of state health authorities. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has disclosed a consent order requiring the municipality to come up with a plan to correct an unsatisfactory rating of its public water system, which arose from inspection during a two-day period last fall. DHEC wants Walhalla to submit a business plan to show how its water system will be operated and maintained—and these are DHEC’s words—“as a viable entity.” In addition, Walhalla is to pay a civil penalty amounting to $3 thousand dollars. According to a summary of the inspection: “The Respondent (City of Walhalla) has violated the State Primary Drinking Water Regulations as follows: the pumps and piping at the raw water pump station and the high service water pump station were showing signs of corrosion and the insulation was deteriorating; one of the pumps at the raw water pump station was spraying cooling water from the check valve; the flocculation units and equipment were showing signs of deterioration; the sedimentation basins had excessive floc carryover; the filter had not been evaluated in a number of years; the bulk storage chemical tanks at the water treatment plant were showing signs of corrosion; the chemical feed rooms were showing signs of disrepair; several backflow devices had not been tested; written inspection and maintenance procedures had not been completed; it could not be determined if all of the valves and hydrants had been exercised and maintained to ensure operability. The flushing program was not available for Department review; there was no documentation of an annual water audit; and, the distribution map and sample siting plan were not updated.” The issues with Walhalla are on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting in Columbia of the DHEC board. We’ve left callback messages this afternoon for Scott Parris, Walhalla utilities superintendent. However, Mayor Danny Edwards said the city is aware of the DHEC findings and is working to correct them. About the current quality of the water, Edwards says the water is safe to drink and the water meets the state’s requirements. “Basically, what they wrote us up on,” the mayor said, “is the age of our water system.”