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‘Water from the heavens’: South Carolina pastor’s crusade for clean drinking water

‘Water from the heavens’: South Carolina pastor’s crusade for clean drinking water

For decades, many of the residents of Florence, South Carolina, have been forced to boil their water in order to simply drink it.

March 23, 2021, 11:03 AM MST / Updated March 23, 2021, 11:14 AM MST
By Curtis Bunn
In the 20 years since she moved to Florence, South Carolina, Carolyn McMillan said she has shunned consuming water from her faucet at home.

She uses bottled water for drinking or cooking.

“No other choice,” McMillan, who is Black, said. Water from the faucet “doesn’t taste right. I tried it a long time ago. Once. That was enough. Sometimes it’s cloudy. It’s stinky, smelly. I have boiled water to cook. It’s a mess.”

McMillan, from Brooklyn, New York, says she has managed her water like this for so long that it has become routine, like saying her prayers before bed.

“It’s frustrating,” she added. “And I know it’s been making people around here sick. It’s a problem for a lot of us.”

The dearth of clean water in much of Florence, which is 47 percent Black, located about an hour northwest of the coastal resort town of Myrtle Beach, illustrates a national environmental crisis in America, especially for Black people in low-income rural communities.

Leo Woodberry, pastor of the Kingdom Living Temple in Florence, is unwilling to wait any longer on government assistance and has launched a crusade to make clean water in his community — out of thin air.

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