“This problem has been ongoing for a very long time,” began Tammy Johndrow.
For the next few hours, Johndrows would take The Manning Times on a tour of the Goat Island Community while she talked about the contaminated water that has plagued the community.
Johndrow owns and operates the Goat Island Restaurant, Bar, and Lounge, as well as the Bait and Tackle shop next door. The community is small, and the water system is completely overrun with a currently unknown contaminant.
“We know that it isn’t E. Coli,” said Johndrow. “But other than that, DHEC hasn’t given us anything yet.”
The water has reportedly caused several problems throughout the town, including medical problems.
“People have been going to the hospital with stomach issues for months,” said Johndrow. “We have had two cases of twisted bowels since February, cases of rashes, and a few dead pets.”
Johndrow also has to worry about the customers at her restaurant. She estimates that she spends $35 a day on beverages so that she doesn’t have to use the contaminated water.
“If someone comes in and gets sick after drinking at my bar, they aren’t going to think about filing a lawsuit against the Town of Summerton,” said Johndrow. “They are just going to blame me.”
Johndrow told us that she had been reporting this problem to the operator of the water system for a very long time, complaints that she says have fallen on deaf ears.
“Come to find out, the operator of the system, which is a third party that the town hires to manage their water, never reported to the town what the problems were,” said Johndrow.
Whether or not this complication runs deeper than what it seems is left up to debate. However, Johndrow certainly seems to think it does.
“[Stukes’] uncle owns the company,” said Johndrow. “And he isn’t reporting it for a reason.”
Johndrow eventually decided to take matters into her own hands and contact DHEC directly. DHEC found that the water was, in fact, contaminated, and shortly after the Town of Summerton issued a Boil Water Advisory.
For now, all that Johndrow and other members of the community can do is wait for the problem to be fixed.
Until then, The Manning Times would like to reiterate how important it is for citizens in that area to vigorously boil their water for at least a full minute before consuming it.
“They all tell me that it isn’t a huge deal,” said Johndrow. “But how would they feel if their children or loved ones were drinking this or bathing in it?
We reached out to Stukes and the Town of Summerton’s Water Department for comment and have not received a response yet.