Salty Water Will Remain: Proposed Water Referendum Did Not Pass

edisto-waterThe people of Edisto have spoken and, as usual, they are at odds with each other regarding the water issue.

Last night the results came in from the referendum regarding the proposed $8.46 million reverse osmosis system that would mean homes on Edisto Beach could finally have drinkable water. Yes, the water that comes out of the tap is safe to drink, but it is hardly palatable and has alarmingly high levels of chemicals in it (just not high enough for any authorities to care – yet).

According to talk down at town hall after the results came in, the referendum was only voted down by a handful of votes.

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the water issue. A letter went out in water bills that was in favor of the reverse osmosis system. Because it was clearly choosing a side and was sent from town employees using postage paid for by the town it violates section 8-13-1347 of South Carolina State Law.

Plus, it is rumored that members of town council said if the referendum were to fail that the town should shut down the free water provided at town hall. (Don’t worry, that didn’t happen).

As always, drama abounds regarding the water issue, but we’ve been dealing with our salty water for so long it’s hardly a shock to the system.

The only option homeowners on Edisto Beach can resort to now is a reverse osmosis system for the household. They can be costly, but at least the water coming through the pipes won’t corrode appliances and will actually taste like water.

While many people are upset that the referendum was voted down, perhaps there will be another option in the future. We’ll keep you posted on any plans for the town’s water as they arise.

Until then, keep taking your jugs down to town hall to get free water from the reverse osmosis system already in place. There is a limit of five gallons per household per day.

  1. Maybe the residents of Edisto don’t won’t more commercialism. The Island is repetitively advertised as a “small, family beach” but the fact is that it’s being advertised to death right now. You cant keep a small town unique and family friendly with ad campaigns from The New York Times to Southern Living. This will curtail some of the developers. I say, ” CONGRATULATIONS”
    Beverly Robinson
    former 30 year resident of Edisto beach

  2. I think you’re making a big mistake. If anyone is counting on vacationers to rent and help pay for their retirement homes, then you really need to think about it this water situation. Was just down for two weeks on vacation (for my 2nd year) and I was ready getting tired of having to go get water just to make coffee and cook with. Don’t think I’ll be back. We will just leave you residents alone so you can be happy in your own little bubble.

    1. Salty Girl My family has owned property at Edisto my entire life. In those 52 years, we’ve never once “gotten tired” of getting water, become sick from any chemicals, or had a problem with the taste. It’s a part of the experience that separates Edisto from everywhere else. However, if you are too lazy to fill up a milk jug with free water, please do find another place to vacation. Neither you, nor your two weeks of rental money, which is minuscule in comparison to our taxes, will be missed. We work hard to afford our property and to have the right to maintain the beach as we see fit. If you have $8.46 million laying around, feel free to donate it to cover the increase in every tax-paying resident’s water bill. Otherwise, please keep your uniformed opinions to yourself and leave us to pay our taxes and enjoy our island the way we choose.

      1. @George Salty GirlWow…I’m glad I haven’t run into you on my trips down there.  NO Southern hospitality to be had from someone who says to a vacationer, in essence, please go away.

  3. Listen salty girl…I respect your opinion. However…PPPLLLEENNTTYYY of folks line up to rent on Edisto, and have since my family bought a house in 1974.
    What George and I are saying…we don’t want this piece of heaven to more built up that it is. The salt water is not detrimental to a great time n Edisto Beach. If it is, then yes…you need to go elsewhere.
    And btw..don’t talk about taxes. You have NO idea what the tax rate is on Edisto. Edisto supports all of Colleton county, with little to no services. Everyone is taxed ( and insured) to death. So…maybe we are scared of a “little” taxes. cause it aint a little already .  🙂

  4. We have been vacationing “Edisto Style” for many years. We have stayed in homes with and without the RO systems. Our time on Edisto has always been wonderful, no matter which. For the last 8 years (or so) we have mad a point to rent homes featuring the RO system, ta-da! no problem.  We are thankful to the home owners for providing such a comfort. 
    We love Edisto and all it represents. We have has as many of 6 houses occupied by friends and family for our week in paradise. Some traveling from as far as Missouri, some as close as Florida (where they have a beach within 5 miles of their own home). We respect Edisto for what it is, a fantastic way to enjoy the BEACH without the commercialism found in other areas. 
    Thank you to the residents and home owners making it possible for us to share in your dream of what “BEING at the BEACH” really is. 
    We hope it all works out for you.

  5. I too am glad the referendum did not pass. Having owned property there for a number of years my family  enjoyed the trips to the water station for palatable water. We finally had an RO system installed in our house in 2003 and have had no problems. Now your statement about a RO whole system does not give enough information. With a whole house RO system the bladder must be drained and sanitized every two weeks or so simply because the RO process does remove all chemicals both good and bad.

  6. Interestingly, many of us homeowners did not have a vote since we don’t live there. I have mixed feelings – the trips to the water tower never bothered me – but the wear and tear on the pipes, fixtures, and appliances adds up, not to mention the cost and waste caused by each home having its own drinking RO system. And a whole house system is a horrible waste of water.  So it seemed that an island wide system would make sense. I guess I didn’t hear the “cons”, but I can’t think of any outside of the higher water bills we would have. But we’re gonna pay one way or another, so I’d prefer pay without the hassle of replacing appliances! (Just had to buy a new rack for our dishwasher since the old one had completely corroded. Never see that anywhere else!)

  7. This July will be my family’s fourth vacation on Edisto and I love this island so very much. I am seriously thinking of moving there now that I am retired and because of this,  I was kinda hoping that the RO system would pass. But when I visited, I did not find the water problem that big of a deal. We always had a rental that had a small RO in the kitchen for drinking and cooking and that was sufficient.  Also, we found the water very acceptable for showering. At least it does not smell like sulfur like places we have stayed in Georgia. Again, I love Edisto so very much!

  8. I love Edisto Beach and have vacationed there for many years. When we were young and in good health,  going to get free water was not a problem. Now that I am on oxygen 24/7 and always have 1 hand occupied with a portable O2 tank, carrying jugs of water to the town hall and back is an ordeal. And carrying a gallon jug of water up steep steps takes me 3 times as long as a healthy person because I have to stop often to catch my breath! We can’t always find the right house to rent that has an RO system so that means we can’t spend time at Edisto.  But from the comments of the local owners, it seems to me that you really do NOT want people coming to your town, renting your property, or helping you have the money to pay your high taxes and insurance. So please don’t let me interfere with your perfect life! I will go where I feel welcome!

    1. @Pam you have a point about the fact you are on oxygen and having to tote water up steps… I cant offer a solution to that especially since houses must be built on stilts for flooding.
      But everyone is welcome here! It’s just that a lot of people forget Edisto is HOME for many…most of whom are middle class workers raising families and working service jobs. And these people, like myself when raising my children there, don’t rent our houses out!
      Another tax raise would kill them…just as insurance hikes do! Then, that just moves more middle class out.
      Just remember…this is not about the millionaires who are taking over the front beach. Not the absent owner who rents his house.They can afford the RO, the higher taxes. It’s about the people who inherited property, or are your waiter or  your yard guy. They can’t handle more expenses for the comfort of the weekly renter…mush leas for themselves!!! I repeat, taxes at Edisto are already outrageous. Colleton County is a poor county ( except for Edisto).
      Just see both…all…sides to the story! And, btw, grits are GREAT in Edisto water!!!!!

      1. beverlyrobinson The cost is a big issues. Isn’t the failure to vote for a new water system just going to cost the residents more in the long run? The current system will just be condemned by the the State. I don’t think it can be stopped. Just a matter of when. And as well, the town could have received grants, but that’s out the window now .. so even more expensive in the future when the old system is condemned.

        1. funkbarton beverlyrobinson 
          The day of the grants went by the wayside when the former ( first and 30+ year ) Town administrator retired. Edisto is not exactly diverse in its population. Grants are difficult at best. If it’s condemned by the state eventually then there will be other options for monies to implement the RO. It’s just that right now, in this economy, the “locals” are taxed out the ying yang. It’s a tough problem, I agree.

  9. I live near Edisto and have many friends who live at Edisto and I am glad that democracy works. They voted and those eligible and that had a say in this matter were able to vote for or against. Now I understand those people who would say well yeah but everyone other beach has this or that. Well were Edisto people and sometimes we like being different. Edisto charm as everyone loves to talk about is in not being like everyone else.
    Next you are not going to make everyone happy. But if you would like to come here buy a home and get a vote please go see our friends at Edisto Realty and ask for Hollice Savage she’s a great agent!
    Maybe the people of Edisto wanted to spend their money trying to get their children to school via 30 to 60 mile drives for most. Maybe they wanted to replace items stolen or damaged by renters. Oh and not everyone rent out their homes a large group live, work, raise a family.
    But if you would like to have a discussion lets discuss this…I live on Highway 174 that is the beautiful road you ride in on to get to Edisto. It has a posted speed limit of 35 at my house. Please slow down quit doing 90 miles and hour the beach is not going to move. Or you could give me your address and we will let 1600 cars a day come flying by your house for your next vacation. Ohh and lest I forget those of you who turn around in our driveway all the time cause you missed the turn to your favorite spot. Sorry we did not make our driveway 100 feet wide for you and your camper but I left a shovel out next to the ditch so next time you collapse the ditch or leave ruts in my yard please fill them in or dig out the ditch. Or samething let me know your address and we’ll bring over the backhoe and 4 wheelers to your front lawn for your next bar-b-que for fun tiume LOL
     Now Whine everyone!

  10. Kudos, they will not be happy until all the homes on Edisto are like Kiawah where only the rich come to play. Then they will complain that us local people do not seem interested in driving all the way from places like Hollywood or Adams Run to do their yard work, laundry, painting etc. Then they will sit and write about How Edisto lost its charm and how it was better along time ago. It amazes me how you anyone can enjoy a culture, a lifestyle, an essence, a way of life and claim to love it then only want to change it. Ohh i have lived up North some of my family Hails all the way back to early Virginia but my Charleston family trumps that my great great great grandfather was a dubious ship captain Gibbs who was known to run afoul of the British Army and some more people who came here wanting to change things. I drink this salty water all the time and I think it might have some medicinal purposes as well as its great for making Margarita’s and pissing off people who seem to only like life their way

    1. CarlEdwardKoch  I will fight to my DEATh to prevent Edisto from becoming Kiawah North. And you are right, “they” will say Edisto lost it’s charm. And I have said…since my teen years that people say, ” Oh I LOVE Edisto! It’s so wonderful! I can’t wait to move there”…and then THEY are the ones that want change. I’ve seen it since 1974.
      Wanting and needing are two totally different things. Edisto doesn’t need damn thing. Leave it alone.
      Make grits and deal with the dang water!…and yeah..I too think that salty water cures EVERYTHING that ails you too! Except, maybe, for bad attitudes.

  11. I have vacationed at edisto for 54 years and I adapt to the water issue. I don’t want commercialization to spoil the atmosphere that brings me back year after year. I do believe the water issue is for those that live on the island to decide. The people that live here make the island what it is, “special”!

  12. I’ve visited Edisto Beach several times. Last year I stayed for a month. The salt water isn’t such a big deal. You just need to adapt to a different way. I love Edisto because it is not commercial, everyone is very helpful, and it is so beautiful. I hope it doesn’t change by becoming more commercial.

  13. So, isn’t the big problem that if they passed the new water system now Edisto could have gotten grants and such? But, ultimately the State of SC will condemn the current old water and then they can’t get any grants? While I want things to stay the same, this vote is just going to cost more for the residents in the near future.

  14. Though water is a main concern for many residents, if you want to keep Edisto Beach as it is right now (without hotels and all), it’s the right way.
    We have been going to Edisto since 2004 and never water was an issue to us.  City Hall provided us with plenty to use. Now if that was to change, well that could become a problem.
    Where in America can you find a place like Edisto where you can forget it all away from the city life ?
    Keep Edisto as is, it’s a gem in this world where the only values seem to be “I want it all and I want it now !”
    Francois (Gatineau – Canada)

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