Breaking News
More () »

South Carolina preparing to spend $900M in federal funds on water, sewer upgrades

The South Carolina Infrastructure Improvement Program is a one-time, $900 million investment in rural water and sewer upgrades.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — South Carolina is dedicating at least $900 million of its $2.4 billion in federal American Rescue Act (ARPA) Funds to water, sewer, and storm water infrastructure. 

On Tuesday, Sumter City Council approved spending $2.8 million in federal ARPA funds towards water plant upgrades.

"Like many cities throughout the state, our lines are old. Some areas we’ve been changing out 75, hundred year-old sewer lines, ya know," said Sumter Mayor David Merchant.

Merchant said the upgrades will allow the treatment of an additional two millions of gallons of water per day and will include one million gallons of additional finished water storage.

"It’s a very expensive project and it's gonna be lasting. What we do now will last the city another 50-75 years," said Merchant. 

The city hopes to use the federal funds from the South Carolina Infrastructure Improvement program (SCIIP). 

Administered by the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA), the program is a one-time $900 million investment in rural water upgrades.

Sumter resident Gollie Felder welcomes the project as the community continues to grow. 

"That’s important for people coming here to know that the system and the water system is safe," said Felder.

RELATED: Calhoun County working to replace main water line

Winnsboro is also one of the applicants waiting to hear back about funding to expand its wastewater treatment facility. The project would expand the treatment capacity from four million gallons to six million. 

"We've invested roughly $19 million in expanding our water service," said Town Manager Chris Clauson. "To really reap the rewards of even that investment, we've got to invest another $12 million."

Clauson said the $19 million allowed the town to get access to water from the Broad River. However, they do not have the capacity to treat that much water. 

RELATED: Federal funds in hand, Pinewood makes 'game changing' water, sewer improvements

According to Clauson, the sewer plant's capacity is only 500,000 gallons. That means the town cannot add many more homes and businesses. Clauson said if the town receives the funding, the project would be transformative. 

"It will help keep rates down for our customers, it will improve the quality of water and sewer service that we can provide to our customers. And it will allow for growth," said Clauson. 

Governments can request $10 million per project or apply for competitive infrastructure grants. 

SCIIP applications are due September 12. The money must be spent by the end of 2026. 

RELATED: Town of Norway working on fixing water lines

Before You Leave, Check This Out