February 29, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

From the Mailbag: Leaky Sinks, Empty Pools, and Lawless Fire Marshals

leaky sinks


Last Tuesday’s story, in which we drew some of our favorite stories about government waste and incompetence from our email in-box, provoked a number of our readers into sending their own stories – and we feel compelled to share them again.

One email we particularly enjoyed came from Catherine, from a town in the Upstate. “In the fall of 2013 I went to city hall to turn in a business license application,” she writes.

While I was waiting, I went into the ladies’ room. I noticed the faucet was leaking, drip drip drip. Well, I know a leaky faucet can cost you a lot of money on your water bill if you let it go on, so I said something to the man behind the desk. He thanked me and told me they’d have it fixed. I didn’t think anything of it until a few months later when I went by city hall again for some other reason. Went into the ladies room, and yep, still dripping. So after I read [last week’s] “mailbag” story, I stopped by again, just to see if they’d fixed it. Nope. This is well over a year and a half later, and that faucet is still leaking.

Queue inevitable joke about tax dollars down the drain.

We also heard from Phil, who for more than 30 years owned a hotel in Myrtle Beach.

Once a DHEC official came by and said the chlorine level was too low in our pool. I tried to explain that the chlorine burns off throughout the day, but she didn’t care. Everybody had to come out of the pool while we put a little more in. It only took about 15 minute, but it was embarrassing. I learned my lesson. Or I thought I did. In the morning, I’d just put slightly more chlorine than the advised amount. You know what happened next. Several weeks later I got a visit from a different DHEC official, and this time he came in the morning. He said – not surprisingly – that the chlorine level was too high. So everybody had to come out of the pool …

Then there were two comments under last week’s story.


We bought a building formerly occupied by the local fire marshal and half a dozen other bureaucrats for approximately 20 years. The first year we owned the building, the fire marshal came in for a surprise inspection and said that we were in violation of a 33-year old city ordinance requiring exit signs.

And this, another DHEC story.

The splash pool at Barnet Park in Spartanburg, when in use, may have 2 to 3 inches of water depth on the pool surface. Nevertheless, DHEC required the city to post not just one but several signs with the warning, “No Diving.” You just can’t make this stuff up.

No, you can’t.

Have a story about government waste and/or incompetence? Send to us as news@thenerve.org.

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The Nerve