Columbia SC Water Situation: Worse Than Reported

CITY COULD RUN OUT OF WATER … The City of Columbia, S.C. is facing a much more severe water crisis than what is being officially disclosed, sources familiar with the situation tell FITS. Specifically, the rush to close a major breach in the Columbia Canal – which is located next…


The City of Columbia, S.C. is facing a much more severe water crisis than what is being officially disclosed, sources familiar with the situation tell FITS.

Specifically, the rush to close a major breach in the Columbia Canal – which is located next to the city’s central wastewater treatment facility – has reportedly become a race against time.

“If the canal breach isn’t closed within thirty-six hours, the city will run out of water by Monday,” one source told us.

Wow … and you thought the worst of “Floodmaggedon” was over?

Another source told FITS that city officials have reported asked local energy company SCANA to assist the National Guard in repairing the breach.  More ominously, contingency plans have reportedly been prepared in the event local hospitals need to be evacuated.

“No one’s pressing the panic button but it’s safe to say their fingers are over it,” one hospital source told FITS.

Also, we’re told the mass closings of all local government agencies in and around the Columbia area have been initiated as part of an effort to “reduce demand” on the city’s water system.

City officials have made no mention of a potential water outage – although they did urge residents to practice conservation in announcing a partial lifting of a boil water advisory that has impacted more than 400,000 Midlands, S.C. residents.

“City officials are asking citizens to continue minimizing water usage until further notice,” the release stated. “By conserving water, residents will assist the city in protecting one of the region’s main water sources while repairs are being completed.”

Hmmm …

FITS has already published a pair of recent stories related to this situation.  First, we wrote extensively on the neglect of water and sewer infrastructure on the part of Columbia, S.C. “mayorhood” Steve Benjamin.  Second, we reported on efforts by National Guard soldiers to plug the breach.

Benjamin originally told mainstream media outlets the situation was supposed to have been resolved on Wednesday, but that it was now going to take “a couple of days.”

Great …

In addition to other municipal, county and state agency closings, the water crisis in Columbia forced the University of South Carolina to shut down its campus for the week.  It also forced the school to move its scheduled football game against Louisiana State University halfway across the country to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


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Thomas October 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm

This story has fragments of truth in it.

Centrist View October 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Columbia run out of water??? The Mayor begs to differ.

Columbia Mayor: City Will Not Run Out of Water

“Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin says the city is not
in danger of running out of water, and repairs continue on the damaged
Columbia Canal.”

easterndumbfuckistan October 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

That’s what he says in public. They are building serious contingency plans in the background. Every fire station still has US Army tankers running every call with them. This doesn’t sound like a situation where they have enough water.

CorruptionInColumbia October 8, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Hopefully, you are noting the differences in the story and are not really going to take Shitwater Benjamin’s word for anything.

Tazmaniac October 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

T-Bone can always fall back on “I didn’t say the word potable when I said that” I wouldn’t drink a teaspoon of that water until it has been boiled first.

urbantrout October 8, 2015 at 6:43 pm

When T-Bone say ” potable”, what he mean iz dat you can carry all dat water around you wants.

Krazy Kat October 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

So what is in the water anyway? Have they tested it? Decade of polluting and environmental degradation have left a deadly layer of silt in the sediment in our rivers and lakes, which is fine as long it is undisturbed, but that stuff is now swirling in a toxic soup.
Is it bacteria? If so my skin can block it. But I don’t want to absorb a load of arsenic, lead or Mercury.
If it is bacterial are our water heaters incubating it? Do we need to drain and fill later?
I need more info than the city is giving. I’ve asked but no response yet.

easterndumbfuckistan October 8, 2015 at 4:37 pm

The boil water advisory is only for bacteria / viruses that may be in the water. Sediment would be removed in the settling basin and by the flocking process. The stated reason for the BWA is due to numerous water main breaks and possible contamination at the break points, if the system loses pressure then it is possible for contamination to enter the water system. There were also sewage leaks during the flooding so it’s possible there is cross contamination between systems. Once things are back to normal the chlorine in the water SHOULD disinfect any possibly contaminated fixtures such as water heaters, ice makers, water softeners, etc. If you want to drain and fill that would be your own prerogative. Currently the water is safe for bathing an sanitation per the Columbia Water Division.

Mayor T-Bone says one thing:

Kirkman Finaly says another:

Here is the official release from the city:

Just Me October 9, 2015 at 11:04 pm

The attack of the brain eating amoeba!!! Ahhhhhh! Run for your lives!!! :)

tomstickler October 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Water, water everywhere, and all the boards did shrink.
Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Tony October 8, 2015 at 4:41 pm

In part it is an access to water issue. As the canal drains the water availability to the plants goes with it.

In short bacteria, debris passing through the screening apparatus and gumming up the systems, and lack of water are the problems.

it is the triple crown of events.

Just Me October 9, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Maybe I don’t understand the problem but the way I have been reading these articles is that the problem with the breach is that the water is too shallow at the intake. They need a certain depth of water at the intake probably so it doesn’t start sucking air or mud.

I am sure there is always plenty of bacteria in the river water. All the silt in the water from all the churning water adds to the problem and may clog up the filtering system but I don’t think that is the biggest problem with the canal breach.

Mitch October 8, 2015 at 4:43 pm

A minor league baseball park is with any water outage.

Go, Go ,Go Team…or whatever your name is.

The Browns Were Already Taken October 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

They certainly aren’t the Columbia Beavers.

Fecal Matters October 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Capital City Buttplugs

Fecal Matters October 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Can Mayor Bojangles please stop skimming money for pet projects and fix the goddamn infrastructure?!? NOW, PLEASE?!?!

Fecal Matters October 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

I wish Green Diamond had gotten approved, so we could all sit back and laugh even more at the moron running this city back to 19th century.

Beartrkkr October 9, 2015 at 10:19 am

But it’s not in the floodway….it just so happens there is a lot, a lot of water covering the majority of the land at that location at the moment. This should take care of that argument for now, but you never know.

Sarah Toenin October 8, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Nothing wrong with a contingency plan, being proactive during a crisis isn’t a bad idea. Our government shuts down at the first sight of a snowflake, it’s hardly an indicator of a looming water shortage. The public doesn’t need to know every detail, I’m sure much remains unknown even to our local officials. John Q Public is prone to mass panic & hysteria despite having a valid reason. The last thing we need (especially here in Richland County) is a ‘Ferguson 2.0’. Doesn’t take much to stir the masses of asses. All things considered & although not a huge fan, I think Haley & crew have done a pretty damn good job navigating uncharted waters thus far.

HadMyShots. October 12, 2015 at 9:58 am

Haley dropped into uncharted waters when she was elected. Been coughing and spitting and flailing ever since. Only thing Haley does pretty damn good is whore, so I hear (FITS)…

Squishy123 October 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

How’s the baseball stadium project coming along?

See what happens when your town is run by a bunch of black idiots? It’s like the people of Columbia have never heard of New Orleans, Detroit, etc…

guest October 8, 2015 at 5:58 pm

To be fair there are lots of white governors and local politicians pissing away taxpayer money on professional sports stadiums. It is a racket that only makes the billionaire owners richer and the little guy poorer.

Thomas October 9, 2015 at 2:48 am

Mayor Bob was a disaster. Patton Adams as well.

shifty henry October 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Mondday is a holiday…..

Babe Ruth October 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm

We can’t drink the water, but boy do we have a great ball park.

Egg On Their Faces October 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Gonna be hell to pay soon. All of the local and state politicians are the enemy of the people.

Soft Sigh from Hell October 10, 2015 at 12:30 pm

They are world-class liars though. NOTHING will be their fault or via their inattention or negligence. Not a few of the guilty will end up with awards for their “responses” afterwards. Just watch.

The Colonel October 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Floodmageddon is not only not over, it won’t be over for months and the rebuilding will take years.

Let me challenge all of you to get out from behind the keyboard and get your hands dirty, if you are looking for opportunities, reply to this post and I can give you a list of places that you can volunteer or donate to. I’ve been working in Lake Catherine the last couple of days and tomorrow will be headed down to the Lower Richland area where they’re way behind on getting houses cleared and desperately in need of assistance.

stumpknocker October 8, 2015 at 7:41 pm

i will have time on sunday

The Colonel October 8, 2015 at 8:57 pm

Okay, for those of you who would like to work with a church group, show up at Shandon Baptist at 7:30 on Saturday morning, old clothes and work gloves. That group will be doing “mud out” missions all over town. There is training and some highly trained and experienced folks from Samaritans Purse will provide the equipment and necessary supervision. If you have a hammer or crow bar you’re partial to make sure your name is on it and bring it. I’ll have more church based opportunities for you tomorrow (lots of organizations have things going on)

I’ll have a list of secular organizations for you tomorrow (still compiling it). I’m not sure the First Church of Baphomet will be doing anything.

The Colonel October 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

The best way to help with disaster relief efforts is to make a monetary contribution to one of the many Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster agencies, according to S.C. Emergency Management Division. View a full list of agencies at A list of needed and not needed items is available at Here are a few agencies they recommend:

American Red Cross of Central South Carolina: (800) 435-7669

Harvest Hope Food Bank: (803) 254-4432

Lutheran Disaster Response: (800) 638-3522

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: (800) 872-3283

Southern Baptist Convention/Disaster Relief: (800) 462-8657,

United Methodist Committee on Relief: (800) 554-8583

United Way of America: (800) 272-4630

United Way of South Carolina: (803) 929-1000

If you would like to contribute to the United Way of the Midlands’ Flood Disaster Relief Fund, go to

Central Carolina Community Foundation, the local nonprofit organization serving 11 Midlands counties, is accepting online donations at

You can make a contribution to the American Red Cross 2015 Fall Floods relief at

Donate time

The Red Cross is seeking volunteers. Call (843) 764-2323 ext. 321. Or, lend a hand at United Way of the Midlands:

University of South Carolina students can use their class-free time to help with debris removal, shelter attending, damage repair, transportation of volunteers and relief goods. Those interested can sign up at

Those offering resources needed for response or recovery efforts and those who can offer transportation for donations may contact Emergency Support Function (ESF)18 at (803) 737–8518 or (803) 737-8875.

Donate supplies

The state does not need any more water donations at this time, according to S.C. Emergency Management Division.

All locations of Tripp’s Fine Cleaners will be accepting donations of clothing and bedding. Please place your donations in a plastic bag or container, and if possible, sort by size and gender.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office will be a dropoff point for food and supplies. Canned fruits, vegetables and meats will be accepted along with cleaning supplies and paper goods.

Trenholm Road United Methodist Church, 3401 Trenholm Road, Columbia, has a disaster relief station to offer items to people affected by the flood. Donations of feminine hygiene products, men’s socks, paper plates/cups/utensils, formula, school supplies, towels and washcloths, sheet sets, toilet paper and paper towels are needed. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at least through Friday.

Columbia’s new Fireflies baseball team is taking donations of canned food, baby care items (formula, diapers, baby wipes) and personal care items (toiletries, toilet paper, etc.) at 807 Gervais St. (Suite 100) in the Vista. This will serve as a downtown drop-off point for in-kind donations to the United Way of the Midlands. This week, donations will be accepted 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

State resources The S.C. Emergency Management Division has requested that those who want to volunteer their services contact the United Way Association of South Carolina at (803) 929-1000 or go to

Donate at businesses

Many Midlands area businesses are pitching in to help those affected by the floods. At Tony’s Pizza in Cayce (803-936-0033), for example, patrons can buy meals for first responders to enjoy when they come in to eat. Cromer’s has set up a donations box for supplies, and will donate bushel bags of popcorn for every one purchased to shelters, police and fire departments and public service official locations (

Help for animals: If you have found a lost animal and need help finding a shelter and/or its owner, visit the Lost & Found Pets of South Carolina Facebook page or the South Carolina Flood Lost and Found Animals Facebook page.

RogueElephant October 8, 2015 at 8:49 pm

I have a friend at Summerton I am going to help tomorrow. Good job Col.

bennypooflicker October 8, 2015 at 7:17 pm

mayor t-bone shatwater. god that felt good.just had to type it. as you were.

Thomas October 9, 2015 at 2:38 am

Cancel the State Fair. Start trucking and pumping water from Cayce to the Cola Water reservoir. All fresh water plants surrounding the Midlands need to start filling tankers with clean, potable water for Columbia. All pump trucks and tankers need to start hauling water to Richland County. Get water to USC to flush toilets. Drill wells in Cayce and Cola. Pump the water across the bridge to the Cola treatment plant or right out of the ground to the Cola treatment plant.

Eleanor Dobos October 9, 2015 at 6:48 am

Work Staying At Home…..Last weekend I Bought A Brand new McLaren F1 after earning 18,512$,this was my last month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, $17k last-month .No-doubt about it, this really is the most comfortable work I have ever had . I began this 8-months ago and pretty much immediately was bringing home at least $97, p/h….Learn More right Here.
???? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????

Paula October 9, 2015 at 6:58 am

Teabaggers love those cuts now no water or roads welcome to south carolina you bastards/

urbantrout October 9, 2015 at 9:43 am

Damn, you’re a dumb cunt.

Yikes October 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

The hospitals have taken steps to supply their own water. Just shows how lousy Nikki Haley and the lawmakers are with their cuts to core services. Call her office and demand they fund core services.

ebony October 10, 2015 at 4:32 am

More than a year ago I excoriated city officials for neglecting our water & sewage concerns on these very pages. Council woman Isaac responded in another forum that they could walk & chew gum at the same time.

LiesDamnLies&StevoAmin October 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Liar, Liar, pants on fire. No Drinking water from the taps in Columbia for weeks! Try months, for everybody. Welcome to Haiti in Carolina! Thank you Tamika Issac Dipshit.


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