South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – Blue Granite Water Company has notified its customers in the Cedarwood neighborhood near South Congaree and the Columbia airport that they need to boil their water before using it. Customers in the subdivision say they received calls about 5:00 p.m. Friday advising that there was a chance that their water was contaminated with the E coli bacteria. Cedarwood is off West Dunbar Road near Southland Memorial Gardens.
According to webmd.com, E. coli or Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that normally lives in your intestines. It’s also found in the gut of some animals.Most types of E. coli are harmless and even help keep your digestive tract healthy; however, some strains can cause diarrhea if you eat contaminated food or drink fouled water.
While many of us associate E. coli with food poisoning, you can also get pneumonia and urinary tract infections from different types of the bacteria. In fact, 75% to 95% of urinary tract infections are caused by E. coli. One especially bad strain, O157:H7, can make you very sick. It causes abdominal cramps, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. It is the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children. It can also cause life-threatening symptoms such as adult kidney failure, fever, bleeding, confusion, and seizures.
Most boil water advisories are released to the media for publication. This informs customers in the area that may have missed the phone call from the water provider. Boil water advisories are not uncommon and are regularly issued by public and private water systems. Most water providers say that water is safe to use after one minute of a hard rolling boil.
One resident of the neighborhood said that all the people he’d spoken with said they received another phone call from Blue Granite about 1:00 p.m. Saturday. That call advised that the water should be safe to use in about 24 hours. The company also advised them that they'll text customers to let them know when the water is safe.
The Lexington Ledger has attempted to contact Blue Granite’s corporate spokesman through their emergency phone number. We also Googled the spokesman for the company but were unable to locate a phone number. Their operator at the call center said they had no way of reaching any of the company’s management team.
According to their website, Blue Granite Water Company will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. The company services communities that often don’t have access to government provided water and sewer systems. Recently, they reached a settlement with the Congaree River Keeper regarding the discharge of untreated or incorrectly treated sewage into the Lower Saluda River. They did not admit guilt in the suit; however, they reached a settlement and paid various entities and the plaintiff legal teams totaling $735,000.