Sumter City Councilman Robert Galiano told a group of city residents complaining about murky pollutants in their water supply Tuesday night that they should consider installing filtration systems in their homes to combat the issue.
The councilman’s comments came at the tail end of the recent Sumer City Council meeting, after about a half dozen Sumter residents spoke out about ongoing water quality issues.
Video of the councilman’s comments can be seen here:
Galiano stressed repeatedly during his comments that he was not making the suggestion in any official capacity, but rather as a fellow Sumterite who has had to battle water quality issues in his own home for a number of years.
“In no way does this mean the city is telling you to go out and buy filters, but for your own peace of mind I’m saying this. And I’ll probably hear about the statement I just made to you from other folks,” Galiano said.
To deal with iron deposits, Galiano said he had installed a double filtration system, which passes incoming water first through a charcoal filter and then through a fabric filter, which he changes on a monthly basis.
“It solved our problem. Before that, we used to use Iron-Out like you would not believe in our washing machine,” Galiano said.
With only four council members present at Tuesday night’s council meeting and both Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen and Mayor Pro-Tempore Bubba Lowery absent, Galiano found himself having to lead the council through a nearly three-hour meeting, which was both delayed due to a lack of a quorum and addressed a controversial land development plan.
Elected officials, however, expected to hear about water quality issues at Tuesday’s meeting, because for several weeks several Sumter residents, many living in the southwest corner of the city, have been complaining publicly about having to cope with water tinted anywhere from yellow to brown coming out of their pipes.
Before the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting began, city officials tried to preempt some of the complaints by saying they have been working vigorously to address the issue, and that recent water tests have shown the city water supply within proper environmental standards. Even with continual monitoring and treatment, city officials said, there are still going to be some times when the water isn’t perfectly clear.
“We can’t keep instances from happening. We do our best,” said Sumter City Manager Deron McCormick. “But when there are breaks in the line by other people, and things like that, you’re going to have occurrences. So when we hear (of issues) specifically, we can go and attend to that and go make sure their household is taken care of.”
Through its public services department, Sumter operates approximately 633 miles of water mains, serving nearly 28,000 locations. In addition to the city residents, the water system also serves Mayesville, Rembert, and the Wessex subdivision near Wedgefield.