News Feature | November 14, 2018

Report: South Carolina Used HaloSan To Treat Drinking Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

State and local government have long sought to reassure residents of Denmark, SC, that their taps are safe, as many residents are suspicious of their rust-colored water.

However, new information suggests their water may not meet federal standards despite reassurances from public officials. An investigation by CNN, including a year of research and a FOIA request, centered in on the use of HaloSan in drinking water.

“The state government was adding a substance to one of the city's four wells, trying to regulate naturally occurring iron bacteria that can leave red stains or rust-like deposits in the water. The substance, known as HaloSan, was not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to disinfect drinking water,” the report stated.

“The city's mayor says that all of the city's wells flow into one system to be distributed throughout the city. The U.S. EPA and the state of South Carolina have confirmed to CNN that there is now an open investigation into how this happened, although neither would comment on the target of the probe or the scope,” the report continued.

“About 40 of the city’s residents are reportedly considering taking legal action and have hired counsel,” Gizmodo added.

It remains unclear what the effect of HaloSan may have been public health, CNN reported.

South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control told CNN that officials had believed HaloSan was federally approved.

"The Berry Systems HaloSan treatment unit had been advertised as an effective treatment in the control of iron bacteria and was certified ... " said Tommy Crosby, director of media relations for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, per SNN.

Berry Systems, the makers of HaloSan, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Lack of transparency has been another issue affecting water service in Denmark.

“Dr. Marc Edwards and his team began making trips to Denmark last year. He's the professor who helped expose the Flint's water crisis. He wanted to test the city's wells but the mayor would not allow it,” WRDW reported.