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Progress being made on Lower Richland water and sewer expansion project

Area around Lower Richland in southeast portion of county to link schools, businesses, McEntire Joint National Guard Base to improved utilities system

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County is making progress on a $24 million water and sewer expansion in Lower Richland, giving homes in Lower Richland now have the option to tap into a new sewer line. 

"As soon as I get it I think I will hook up to it,” said Ernest Green. Green is one of many residents in Lower Richland who don't have access to a sewer line and instead use septic tanks.

“We have too much chemicals in the ground and in their water now, so it’ll be a bit safer," said Green. 

"This is the first time that area has had access to that type of infrastructure," said Director Bill Davis, Director of Utilities with Richland County. Davis touted what he said are the many advantages, such as lowering maintenance costs and eliminating groundwater contamination.

"You can be confident that we're looking at the water all the time. And that's that's important, because I think it gives you peace of mind," said Davis.

Davis adds the line will ensure the wastewater system can handle the community's growth. Recently, county council approved sewer service for 1,720 residential units on both sides of Garners Ferry Rd at Lower Richland. 

RELATED: Richland County looks to approve sewage requests

"The capacity assurance program means that we're not going to be like the airlines and sell more tickets than we can receive," said Davis. "That's why everybody came at one time. They've been there for years. Most of these projects are 10 to 15 years old."

The expansion also puts McIntyre Joint National Guard Base on a public sewer service for the first time. It adds 115 fire hydrants from the intersection of Garners Ferry and Lower Richland Boulevard to the base, Davis said.

Even residents who are still on well water will now "be protected from fire from our new water system," Davis said.

According to Davis, the project is almost complete. All that is left is connecting individual customers to the main line.

"A lot of them are being done this week and next week," said Davis, "and then we'll be done with the project and ready to go.”

The project started in 2020, but was delayed due to supply chain shortages and worker shortages, Davis said. 

Hopkins Middle School, Hopkins Elementary School, Gadsden Elementary School and Franklin Park will gain access to the new system at the Eastover Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Davis tells News 19 the Eastover Wastewater Treatment plant is being expanded to handle 1.2 million gallons of water each day. 

The project is funded through utilities revenue bonds.

RELATED: The COMET public transit system looking to better serve Lower Richland community

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