Fort Mill Times

S.C. leader looks to go public on Carolina Water Service in Lake Wylie


If there is going to be a push to get rid of Carolina Water Service in Lake Wylie, state Rep. Ralph Norman said, it’s going to have to go public.

Norman will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 at The Journey at Lake Wylie, 5415 Highway 557. County officials and Lake Wylie residents are invited to help come up with a plan. Carolina Water’s franchise agreement with the county expires Jan. 1.

“What we've got is kind of a coordination meeting," Norman said.

Norman met with York County Manager Bill Shanahan and York County Council chairman Britt Blackwell. He met with Council Dist. 2 representative Bruce Henderson, and Allison Love, who will take over for Henderson in the new year. Norman said he was trying "to try to tell the county how important it was to take the steps" of buying the water system or finding another operator.

"They're the ones that are in the prime position to renew the contract (or) not renew it," Norman said.

Cost, service and water quality complaints regarding Carolina Water Service have been common in Lake Wylie through the years. Scores of residents joined Norman in protesting rate hikes. Sewage spills and system maintenance concerned others.

Issues brought up in public forums mirror those in Tega Cay before the city voted to purchase Tega Cay Water Service two years ago. Tega Cay Water Service was a co-subsidiary with Carolina Water Service, of Illinios-based Utilities Inc. Tega Cay Mayor George Sheppard will speak at the Aug. 30 meeting in Lake Wylie.

"We're going to get the public involved, kind of like we did in Tega Cay,” Norman said. "He'll be there to speak on what went well, what didn't go well."

Norman far from believes the task will be easy.

"What we do know is Carolina Water Service’s attorney has written back saying they don't want to sell,” he said. “So we're starting with that in mind."

In Tega Cay, it was overwhelming community input that — along with a financial forecasting — led to the city purchasing a troubled system. Norman sees similar feelings here.

"They're very unhappy with the service, the product and the lack of infrastructure they're being charged for," he said.

Prayers for Washington

Norman isn’t the only elected official coming to Journey. U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney will speak at a service at 7 p.m. Aug. 23.

Mulvaney will give a legislative update, which faith leaders will turn into a call for prayer.

“He’s coming just to kind of inform us on what’s going on, so we can pray for what’s going on in Washington,” said Steve House with Journey.

Journey leaders want to start prayer requests tying ribbons to trees starting next month throughout the area.

“It would be neat to see all these ribbons on these trees around these churches,” House said.

The event is part of an effort to support the country at a critical time, House said.

“You hear people say, there’s nothing we can do about what’s going in our country,” he said. “It dawned on me that, yes we can.”

John Marks: 803-831-8166