Water and the “Insta-Gator” Discussed at Lake Meeting

Ken Brewer holding his sketch of fallen park ranger, Emily Perry.

There may have been rain in the forecast, but it didn’t stop the town of Lake Waccamaw from making decisions about the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) or the completion of two well sites at Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting. An unsung hero was also recognized as Gator Fest’s own “Insta-Gator” by Ginger Littrell.  

Ken Brewer has many faces around the Lake, but the greatest of them all was the Gator Fest “Insta-Gator.” Brewer sported a blow-up alligator costume at the town’s second annual celebration on April 27, and he had no problem getting into character for the little ones to take pictures and for the grown-ups to hang out and dance with the unofficial mascot.  

The Lake Waccamaw resident is always one of the first to jump right into community events either by decorating his golf cart for a parade or a competition, or by doing what he does best, creating beautiful works of art. Recently, the artist was invited to go to a dedication ceremony of a mural at Lake Waccamaw State Park for fallen ranger Emily Perry. 

“Ken started sketching in his sketchbook, and he brought it tonight to show it to me. He just cranks these things out,” said Littrell holding up Brewer’s drawing of Perry.  

Though it was Littrell’s birthday, she presented him with his very own alligator t-shirt and hat to commemorate the occasion and officially make Brewer the “Insta-Gator.” 

Gator Fest was a big success this year. Town Clerk Meredith Parker, Code Enforcement Officer Chad Smith, town staff, and many volunteers pulled together a fun filled day of music, food, games, and a Fun Zone for the kids.  

“I have been bombarded with people telling me how wonderful it was this year,” commented Commissioner Frank Carroll.  

Parker said plans are already underway for next year’s event, and they hope to make it even bigger and better than the 2024 festival. You can find a gallery of the second annual celebration at https://columbuscountynews.com/2024/04/second-annual-gator-fest-gallery/.  

With the most important business out of the way at the meeting, the board got down to business regarding the WWTP and the mitigation of contracts for well sites in the municipality. The board unanimously voted to allow improvements for both the plant and the resurfacing of a retention pond where water is treated, and to continue the work on well sites 3 and 4 with the same contractor.  

According to Town Manager Damon Kempski, Well Site 3 is near completion with only a few kinks to work out, and Well Site 4 will be breaking ground in the very near future. Kempski also addressed recent concerns regarding the quality of drinking water in Lake Waccamaw.  

“People have been saying that the water doesn’t feel the same, but where the water was only treated in one area in a horseshoe shape and tested once, it’s now being treated in two areas, and tested three and four times,” expressed the town manager. 

Kempski went on to explain that the concentration of chemicals is higher coming from two different pump stations, but drinking water goes through extreme lab assessments, and the town has made it a top priority to ensure its quality for consumption.   

“The water is completely safe to drink,” he said.