As I have watched reports about Newark's water concerns, I reflect on how it was reported and the value for FACTS, DATA and ACTION. The mayor said two key things that stuck with me: "We did NOT need any outsiders to test our water" … " no BLAME-RESPONSIBILITY.” Newark’s case showed politicians being brave enough to take quick action for the good of people. With Newark, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rushed in to support with corrective action while the response and urgency are quite the opposite for Denmark.

Groups work together to distribute water in Denmark

Is it because we are RURAL AMERICA? Is it because there is more concern about the perception of state agencies and politicians over the health and need of citizens? It is because a previous politician leads the class action lawsuit against a poor rural black town while knowing this was a state and federal error? If we could remove the politics, how could this story be different for Denmark, S.C.?

I invite media and advocates to review facts and tell the REAL story of Denmark’s water quality concerns -- almost one year later. A most recent FOIA request provided emails between EPA, DHEC, USC, NSF and the State of North Carolina showing the warnings, concerns, registration concerns of Halosan. Yet, DHEC officials worked harder to issue statements and reports that ignored this information and the EPA has done little to correct.

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EPA only appears to be involved in 2019 with testing to show that the water quality meets standards after Halosan is no longer in use instead of working to determine health concerns as a result of the error. It has been easy for them to take this position because the advocates for Denmark are being ignored and NOT supported.

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The activist and previous state representative as an attorney of the class action lawsuit monopolizes the media's attention and parades Democratic candidates through our state to use our need for coverage and political agendas. There has been more progress to promote litigation that would award refund of water bills and a political stage than solutions for our water quality. Is this intentional for the financial gains of the attorneys? Or conveniently delayed to support the "savior" political agendas for the 2020 elections? Does urban America get immediate action and support while rural America is monopolized and ignored?

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With the resounding response of Newark, N.J., to correct its water concerns quickly, South Carolina has to write a better ending to our story. Is anyone ready to listen and share all the politically unbiased truth of Denmark's water quality concerns so that citizens recover from a 10-year error of state and federal oversight?

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Letitia Dowling, a Denmark native, is a political science graduate of Coastal Carolina University, educator and principal. She is founder and director of Denmark Cares, an organization working as an advocate to improve the health and wealth of the citizens in Denmark through partnerships with public, private and state agencies.


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