South Carolina's "Surface Water Withdrawal, Permitting, Use, and
Reporting Act" explained, that is.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC, or just DHEC,) held a public meeting last night to not take comments on its implementation of South Carolina's "Surface Water Withdrawal, Permitting, Use, and Reporting Act of 2011." The act was recently utilized in granting an "agricultural registration" of withdrawals of water to be made from the South Edisto River by Walther Farms for its operations outside of Windsor, SC. 400 members of the public (give or take, say, 50?) were on hand at the meeting room of Aiken Electric Coop to listen while DHEC officials explained details of the act's implementing regulation, R.61-119, recently used to grant a registration to Walther Farms' potato chip factory farm.
David Wilson, Chief, SCDHEC Bureau of Water, started off the meeting by describing the meeting as being a forum to inform the public about the law and its implementation. While a question and answer period would follow their presentation, no public input was solicited since it was not a requirement of the law. He then introduced David Baize who carried the attendees through a PowerPoint presentation describing the law and how DHEC used it in granting Walther Farms its "registration" permitting (although no permit was required or issued) its withdrawal of over two billion gallons a month (Note: So much for working around the clock to get the story out. Two billion gallons? No way. The amount should have been stated as over 800 million gallons a month--SVG 01/08/14, 11PM) from the small river for use in its agricultural operations.
Following the presentation, a Q&A session ensued. Comments, mostly, were made about the commenter's thoughts on the law, the regulation, the impact on the environment of the withdrawals, and the potato farm. DHEC's officials fielded the comments and the occasional question with care--answering where answers were possible and side-stepping from time to time due to a legal challenge that had been mounted to their "registration" of the Walther withdrawals.
The meeting ended around nine o'clock with most questions/comments having been taken. More about this will follow, perhaps tomorrow. As of now, your examiner must take a needed rest in order to go to his brother's horse farm outside of Johnson, SC to engage in a part time job involving horses and waste material management: i.e., tomorrow AM at daybreak. While there, I will also take the time to photograph a spring and ensuing creek that constitutes one of the South Edisto's sources of water. Perhaps it is the South Edisto itself, in its infancy.
On my return to civilization (sorry, bro, at daybreak, in sub-20 degree temps, your place is just a bit too severe for my city slicker tastes,) I will return to the matter of the DHEC meeting and organize my pix and thoughts for those of you who would like to hear and see "the rest of the story."