On January 25, 2020 the tank section of Fort Mill's new elevated water storage system at the end of Bass Street was hoisted to the top of its supporting structure. (Credit: FortMillTV)

Mayor Guynn Savage sounds confident that the water crisis currently plaguing Mississippi’s capital would never happen in Fort Mill.

That’s because there have been millions invested in the water system that serves our area.

“Fort Mill continuously invests in our water system,” Mayor Savage told The Fort Mill Sun. “We have added a new water tower on the west side of town, updated distribution lines, and ensured back-up connections to York County  for emergency situations.”

In addition, Fort Mill conducts water inspections above those required by state agencies to maintain confidence in the local system.

Fort Mill Fire Chief Chip Wilkerson and Mayor Guynn Savage speak at a ground-breaking for Fire Station #2. (File photo by Greg Rickabaugh)

“Repairs and updates are made on our system as leaks occur for prudent use of tax dollars,” she said Friday.

Currently, Mississippi’s capital has been without reliable tap water service since Monday. That’s when rainwater flooding helped push an already-hobbled treatment plant to begin failing. Families and businesses are being forced to buy water or rely bottled water pick-up sites for water to drink, cook and brush teeth.

According to Mayor Savage, Jackson suffered from heavy flooding in a delta that is very flat and low. In contrast, Fort Mill is in the Piedmont area of the state with rolling hills that are not flat.

“Rain systems can provide flash flooding, but rarely ever the type of flooding seen in Mississippi,” Mayor Savage said.

Another issue in Mississippi is reported shortages in staffing in water treatment facilities. In Fort Mill, the mayor said there is trained staff that manage the water system combined with significant investments in the system.

“Rock Hill is the sole provider of water to Fort Mill and has invested millions in their system to provide needed and above capacity water for all its customers,” she said.

Finally, a lack of investment and oversight of Jackson’s system has created maintenance and operational issues. That is simply not an issue in our area, Mayor Savage said.

“The Town of Fort Mill works diligently to evaluate our water system to ensure that we have the best understanding of our Town’s needs today and moving forward,” she said. “This includes planning  to secure funding and complete construction well in advance of new needs in maintenance and capacity.”

That doesn’t mean there are not occasional interruptions from unavoidable leaks or contractor errors. Last month, Fort Mill residents were placed under a temporary boil water advisory after road work crews damaged a water main.

“But (I) remain confident that we are ready to respond as needed to minimize the inconvenience to our customers,” the mayor said.

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...

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