Water testing kits part of a sales pitch for SC water filtration company

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, October 12, 2010

EVANS, Ga. --- We all worry and wonder sometimes if our water is contaminated but what if the worry was unnecessary? Our local water companies all periodically check the water for contaminants but an out of town company wants check your water again for free -- but are they really selling something in the end?

For the past few days, Margaret Doss' phone has been ringing off the hook. The water quality manager with Columbia County has been taking calls about a little bottle and a flyer.

"I probably got at least three calls today alone from different individuals that know me personally that called and asked to speak to me about it," said Doss. "A lot of folks think it's from the water company but it's not."

The items are inside a clear baggie and taped outside of mailboxes in several neighborhoods by a company called Environmental Progress, Inc. in Lexington, South Carolina. The company wants to test the water quality and provide results to customers willing to provide water samples. But there's more.

"Its private company that sells water purifiers," said Doss. "It's not really necessary because we[Columbia County] meet or exceed all of state or federal requirements for safe drinking water."

The Columbia County Water Utility and other water authorities in the CSRA are all familiar with the company and it's marketing tactics. The company flyer says it conducts four tests --Chlorine, Hardness pH and TDS. At the bottom of the flyer it also has information about what the company distributes.While the company's flyer makes no mention of selling purifiers, they do sell something.

News 12 called the company and spoke with someone who identified themselves as a manager and was told by phone that Environmental Progress, Inc. is a "water filtration company" and we [Environmental Progress, Inc.] are in the water filtration industry.We leave customers with information."

"They're not charging you for it, but they will undoubtedly come back with the results and want you to purchase one of their water purifiers," added Doss.

There are purifiers that could cost hundreds of dollars and long term costs to a homeowner that may or may not be prepared for the additional costs.

"It's going to cost you more money. You have to make sure that you follow the directions and change the filters and such appropriately or you can make your water quality worse," said Doss.

The county water is tested multiple times and frequently. In fact, not only does the county conduct the same tests, additional test for various biological contaminants to ensure the water is safe are done.

"Yes, we test for everything that's on that list," said Doss.

As far as the finding, Doss says the county is not worried about problems with the water.

It doesn't bother me that they're testing the water behind us because they're not going to find anything that violates federal regulations because we meet all of our regulations,"said Doss. "Your water is going to have chlorine in it. We put that there on purpose to keep you from getting sick. So they're not telling you misinformation,when they tell you there's chlorine in the water. We know that."

Columbia County uses a map with several grids of the county marked off that engineers and testers refer to when they're out testing to make sure that they cover every area of the county on a monthly basis. The water at the water treatment plant is also tested multiple times each day.

Doss gives this advice to homeowners in the area.

"If you want to waste money doing so,you're welcome to," she said. "I wouldn't personally because I know the water is safe."

Other than general information given over the phone and information that can be found on the company's website, Environmental Progress,Inc. declined to comment on the story.


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