Last updated: August 15. 2013 3:15AM - 1051 Views
Karen Kissiah Staff Writer

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The summer rains, nor anything else, have impacted the quality of the town’s drinking water, said Ricky Ingram, director of public works and utilities for the Town of Cheraw. But the amount of rain here, and upstream, has caused a few problems for the town’s water department.

According to Ingram, Cheraw has gotten 41 inches of rain this year. The annual amount of rainfall is just 46 inches for this area. “Two inches of rain,” said Ingram, “equates to 54,000 gallons of water for one acre.”

That kind of rain causes the ground to become so saturated it begins to cause all kinds of problems, said Ingram. “And we just have to stay on top of them.”

One of those problems, caused by the heavy flow of water down the Pee Dee River, was realized when a cement support beam, for one of the town’s three main raw water intake lines, collapsed and slid down the embankment. The pipe, nor the water source was compromised, but after the water receded, the embankment had to be built back up and a new support put in its place.

“We’re really fortunate to be here on the river,” said Ingram. “It’s a tremendous resource.”

Cheraw is also fortunate to have lower water and sewer rates than the national average, said Ingram, simply because the system has been in tact so long. The original water facility building was erected in 1912, and still serves the town as office and supply space.

“We take pride in keeping our costs down,” said Ingram.

It’s not exactly magical that one turns on the faucet and clean, fresh, drinking water appears … straight from the Great Pee Dee River. But it does require some chemicals and lots of diligence, said Ingram.

“There’s someone in that lab every hour of everyday,” he said, testing the quality of the water. “Christmas Day, there’s someone in that lab.”

Quality samples are required to be conducted every four hours, “but we do them every two hours,” said Ingram.

Regulations call for the National Turbidity Units not to exceed .3, said Ingram. “We keep our levels closer to .02.”

And just in case you’re wondering, or didn’t know, the town’s waste water returns to the Great Pee Dee, “cleaner than it came out,” said Ingram. After all, other people get their drinking water and treat their sewage through the same river. Florence, and other cities are down stream from us.

So even when it’s not raining, said Ingram, water remains an important aspect of our community.

— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at kkissiah@civitasmedia.com.

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