Water is something we all need–but what if that water is contaminated?
That’s what folks in Denmark, South Carolina say they are dealing with right now. And some Lowcountry churches are stepping in to help.
Residents of Denmark, which is a small town on U.S. 321 about 90 miles north of Bluffton, say their water has been “poisoned” for a decade.
The state government was adding something called HaloSan to the town water for 10 years. It’s a substance that has been used to clean hot tubs and take care of rust and was not approved by the EPA for safe drinking water.
Residents say that water sometimes flows brown, but they have still drunk it, cooked with it and bathed in it.
Both the town and the state health department insist the water is safe. But one Denmark activist wonders how you trust someone who “poisoned” their water for years.
Now, the people in this small town are left with a lot of questions, a class action lawsuit, and no safe drinking water.
“That shocked me that I could live so close and not have a clue,” explained Rev. Jon Black of the Campbell Chapel AME Church. “But by the Grace of God, we could be Denmark, SC.”
That’s why Reverend Jon Black and Campbell Chapel AME Church stepped up to help.
Black was alerted to the problem by Bridgette Frazier of Bluffton, a teacher at Hilton Head Island Middle School.
The town was in trouble and the people didn’t have the means to fight it or pay for added costs of bottled water. 38 percent of people in Denmark live below the poverty line.
Campbell Chapel teamed with First Zion Baptist and Bible Missionary Baptist Church in Bluffton and the town of Bluffton back in December to take bottled water donations.
Rev. Black himself helped hand deliver 500 cases of bottled water to this underprivileged, dry town.
“Their gratitude was amazing. The Bible speaks of just giving someone a drink of cold water in the name of our prophet,” explains Rev. Black. “We felt that way because it was such a small gift to be received with such gratitude.”
That momentary happiness didn’t solve the problem.
So Black and the other pastors decided they had to go back, to flood the people of Denmark with kindness, and more water.
“Our faith is not just something we put in our heart but that we put into action,” says Black.
Now the group has collected multiple pallets of water, dozens of cases on each. The goal is to bring a semi-truck full of bottled water to Denmark to give the people some time, and some hope.
“Its inexplicable how important that is,” says Black. “We are made mostly of water so to be able to quench that thirst or show that we care, that we aren’t leaving Denmark and their citizens alone, that there’s an entire community around them that cares and will support them and be with them until the end.”
Donations will be accepted through Thursday at Campbell Chapel AME Church at 35 Boundary street, First Zion Baptist church at 10 Robertson street and Bible Missionary Baptist church at 236 Buck Island road. All of those are in Bluffton.
The churches will continue to take water donations after this latest trip to Denmark as long as the people there need them.
Two class action lawsuits have been filed by the people of Denmark, each asking for repayment of all their water bills for the last decade and clean drinking water in the future.