A group of residents is suing the town of Denmark for using an unapproved chemical to treat drinking water for the past decade.
The lawsuit filed last week accuses town leaders of using the chemical HaloSan to help treat bacteria in the water system. HaloSan is not approved by the EPA for such purposes.
“It turns out that additive is used to clean jacuzzis,” attorney Bakari Sellers said. “It’s not supposed to be put in the water daily for treatment purposes.”
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed the town had been adding the chemical to regulate naturally-occurring bacteria which were not harmful, but left a red rust color in the water. The lawsuit states Denmark has been using HaloSan in at least one of its wells for the past decade.
The lawsuit seeks reimbursements for he town’s water customers, claiming Denmark breached its responsibilities by adding the chemical without public notification.
“An EPA risk assessment from 2007 noted that HaloSan can be a significant eye and skin irritant and can cause burning, rash, itching, skin discoloration/redness, blistering, and allergic type reactions,” the lawsuit states.
A DHEC Bureau of Water official told the Charleston Post and Courier that HaloSan has been approved by NSF International, a private product testing firm. Bureau Chief Mike Marcus said most states rely on the NSF guidance.
Sellers, a CNN political analyst who grew up in Denmark, said residents have known for years something was wrong with their water. “There was an implied contract between citizens and the city to provide clean, potable water. And that’s not what occurred.”