Richburg lifts water restriction days after herbicide contamination concerns

RICHBURG, S.C. — Hundreds of people in Chester County can drink their water again.

The Chester Metropolitan District lifted water restrictions Monday after officials said tests showed no indications of contamination.

Residents were warned Wednesday to not drink or cook with the water in Richburg because of concerns about a chemical herbicide that might have gotten into the system.

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The concern came from a small pond outside the company Foot Print off of Highway 9, which makes packaging material.

The pond is a large water supply in case of a fire.

An herbicide known as flumioxazin is put in the pond to kill algae.

The do not drink order affected the following streets in Richburg:

  • Main Street
  • All sides streets connected to Main Street
  • West Lancaster Street
  • Old Richburg Road (Highway 56)

Officials said that a backflow valve in the system failed, which is designed to keep the pond water out of the public water system. They thought the failure may have allowed some pond water and possibly the herbicide into the system, so the warning was issued as a precaution.

The do not drink warning affected 250 customers in Richburg, which is about 700 people.

It did not affect residents on Highway 9.

Utility company employees took bottled water door-to-door to residents and left more at the Richburg Fire Department for those affected by the advisory.

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Gerald Hensley and his wife Patricia received some bottled water that was delivered to their door. He said that utility employees contacted them and explained the situation.

"They made real effort to contact people and these were live individuals that were making the phone calls. So, they were concerned that you weren't drinking that water," Hensley said.

Officials flushed out fire hydrants near the plant and on the half-dozen streets in the area.

The chemical herbicide is considered mildly toxic and looks blue in water, which makes it easy to see.

Officials issued an apology for any inconvenience associated with the restriction and said anyone with questions can call 803-3385-5123 or visit the website here.