Council talks water; new officers sworn in

Water covered most of the agenda during Barnwell City Council's regular meeting Nov. 4.
City Administrator John Zawacki gave updates on four water-related issues: The water tower at the old Milliken Plant, the Main Street water tower, the Hagood Avenue waterline project and another potential waterline project.
The Old Milliken Plant has been torn down, but the plant's water tower is still standing. The city owns an acre of land that the tower sits on, and it's been determined the tower is contaminated with lead paint making it a potential environmental hazard that the city is liable for, Zawacki said.
Luckily, the city has found a business that will take down the tower for no cost. Iseler Demolition, Inc., which specializes in water-tower demolition, will dismantle the tower and keep the scrap metal. A concrete foundation that the tower sits on will be left in place.
"The big thing is that we get that lead paint issue out from under us," Zawacki said.
The Main Street water tower is back online now that its makeover is complete. It was refurbished by Georgia-based Utility Service Company for $272,300. The tower also got a new paint job, including the city logo.
Zawacki said he has received the construction permit from DHEC for the Hagood Avenue waterline project, but the environmental work still needs to be completed before the state Department of Commerce will release the project's funds. The city received a Community Development Block Grant worth $440,000 for the construction, which will replace the current waterline on Hagood from Carolina Avenue to Colonial Street and down Colonial and Oak streets. A larger line, along with more fire hydrants, will be installed to meet fire codes.
"The project probably won't start until February," Zawacki said.
In May, council received a petition signed by over 40 residents requesting upgrades to the potable waterlines for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th streets' neighborhood. Council voted then to have Zawacki work on an application for a rural infrastructure grant to fund the project. That application is finished and has been sent to the Rural Infrastructure Authority, Zawacki said. He expects to know whether it's been approved in February.
In other business:
• Two police officers were sworn in - Brittany Williams and Dustin Beasley, son of Blackville Mayor Mike Beasley.
Zawacki said he hopes to have a new police car, paid for with funds from a Department of Justice grant, in service within a month.
• Fire Chief Tony Dicks said he expects to get up to $5,000 in grant money for fire equipment from Georgia Pacific.
• Something has to be done about the old, abandoned sheriff's building behind Buck's Hardware at the end of Main Street. Zawacki said the insurance premium on the house is set to increase, from $699 to $1,600, since the building is vacant. If it were to burn down insurance would only pay to remove the debris. The city is potentially liable if someone were to be injured on the property.
Zawacki said the building and planning commission, council members W.C. Black and William Dozier will need to look into the issue.
• The city's website has been upgraded. It now works well with mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets.
• The annual Christmas by Candle Light on the Circle will be Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. The Christmas parade will be Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. Former city councilman J.T. Atkinson will be the grand marshal.