December 19, 2007
SCGWA Responds to Greenville News Article
The following is a copy of the full letter sent by SCGWA to the Greenville News in response to the article, “Residents seek help as wells run dry,” which ran on Friday, November 20, 2007.
Dear Greenville News Editor:
After reading Friday’s article about the need for public water in southern Greenville, I felt compelled to respond. Our company has been in the water well business since 1953, and we have drilled many thousands of wells (we do not dig wells), none of which have gone dry. I will admit that, on occasion, we have drilled a dry well; however, very seldom does the second try not produce enough water for household use.
To the 24 people who signed the petition for rural water lines to be installed, all 24 could have new well systems for much less than the $1 million dollar price tag of rural water. Before you do anything, you should consider the following facts because there are many distinct differences in being a private well owner and a user of a public water system. The fact of the matter is that public water is not better and has its own set of problems.
Private Well Facts: A properly constructed and maintained well can provide adequate amounts of safe drinking water and operate at a minimal cost per day. When the well is paid for, it will belong to you. That means you are in control of it. And while properly installed wells are safe, they are like other mechanical devices around your home or even your car—they will need regular maintenance from time to time. Professional contractors can provide annual well checkups and water testing. There are even water-testing kits on the market for which you can administer the tests yourself. Occasionally, there may be a problem with minerals or odors. However, since your well is a small, closed system, problems can easily be diagnosed and treated. Always remember this is your well and your water. You control what happens to them and what goes into them.
Public System Facts: Public water systems are expensive to build and maintain. Therefore, they require many hook-ups to be economically successful for the local government in charge of them. Water bills come forever, and consumers have no control over the rates. And since consumers don’t own the water, they don’t have control over its contents. Public systems can include additives you may not want to drink. Although the water is tested when it leaves the plant and at check points along the system, there is no guarantee that the water leaving the plant is exactly the same when it flows from your tap. The bigger the system or the farther the water has to travel, the greater the opportunity for contamination and the more difficult it is to find or restrict the area of contamination, therefore, causing systems to shut down for days or requiring users to boil their water for much longer. Since pipelines to rural areas can be exceptionally long, rural water systems are especially susceptible to this and even more serious problems caused when chlorinated water meshes with organic materials to form gases. In addition, a water system can bring undesired growth, urban sprawl, and an increased cost of living to rural areas.
Choosing a water supply is an extremely important decision. Please don’t make it hastily. Learn as much as you can about water systems and their sources before you come to your conclusion. If you would like information about getting a private water well or more details about the well you already own, contact your local professional water well contractor. Also visit on the web: Well Owners’ Association at www.wellowner.org, the National Ground Water Association at www.ngwa.org, the Water Systems Council at www.watersystemscouncil.org, or the American Ground Water Trust at www.agwt.org.
James Rodgers, Jr.
Vice President, South Carolina Ground Water Association
Contractor, Rodgers Well Drilling
Rodgers Well Drilling, Inc.
PO Box 2358
Greenwood, SC 29646
SC Ground Water Association
PO box 2054
Lexington, SC 29071