Rural Infrastructure Authority Approves Grant for Lake Marion Regional Water Agency

Summerville, South Carolina

May 24, 2013 - According to a press release Tuesday from the South Carolina Department of Commerce, news emerged that the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) recently awarded $5.7 million in grants for 17 water and sewer projects in 15 counties across the state. In particular, the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency (LMRWA) will receive $1,555,600 to complete the LMRWA Reach from Holly Hill to Harleyville that is located between Dorchester and Orangeburg Counties.

In 2008, once the Lake Marion Regional Water System Treatment Plant entered service, the LMRWA began work to extend the reach of the water distribution system to a multi-county region that included Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Dorchester, and Orangeburg Counties. In order to maximize the number of water customers that can be served by Lake Marion, Dorchester County and the LMRWA committed to the Holly Hill to Harleyville Reach, which is part of the East Orangeburg-Dorchester-Berkeley Reach.

As one of the final phases remaining in this project, these grant funds will be utilized by the Agency to complete the Holly Hill to Harleyville Reach that will connect more residential and commercial customers to the water system for the lowest cost. In addition to serving the areas of Holly Hill and Harleyville with clean, potable water for an estimated $6 million, this phase will also allow access to the Dorchester County market that is needed for this project to be fiscally sustainable.  

"This project has been a long time in the making, and through much perseverance and dedication we are getting very close to completion," said Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn. "We are thrilled to see nearly two decades of hard work finally coming to fruition. There is still work to be done, but through the support of the RIA grant, Dorchester County will be able to clear another major hurdle in its efforts to provide a dependable source of potable water to attract community and economic development."

Totaling $1.8 million, funding for this portion of the project that will extend water lines from Holly Hill to Harleyville will be funded primarily by the Rural Infrastructure Authority for $1,555,600. The remaining $250,000 will be funded by Dorchester and Orangeburg Counties, with possible financial support from the Dorchester County Legislative Delegation.

The LMRWA, representing a true partnership between federal, state, and local entities, has worked tirelessly to address the needs concerning many communities situated along the I-95 corridor. In addition to the efforts of LMRWA Chairman John Wright and LMRWA board members, this project has been heavily supported over the years by Dorchester County Council, Congressman James Clyburn, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator John Matthews, and Representative Patsy Knight, as well as other members of the Dorchester County Legislative Delegation.

The purpose of the RIA grant awards is to assist rural communities within the state that need help in bringing their water and sewer systems up to environmental quality standards of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). RIA's support to improve the capacity of existing systems provides a far-reaching impact statewide to better serve customers, improve the quality of life, and prepare for economic development.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, who also serves as Chairman of the RIA's Board of Directors, elaborated on this significant announcement benefiting South Carolina's infrastructure systems. "Basic infrastructure is a key component not only of economic development, but also of quality of life. These grants will help communities provide better water and sewer service for current residents as well as become more attractive to new residents and businesses."

In total, the funding awarded by RIA since January comes to more than $9.6 million, which has supported 31 water and sewer infrastructure projects throughout South Carolina.

Fifty-nine percent of the projects funded are water system improvements or extensions; the remaining 41 percent are wastewater projects. More specifically, some of these projects include extension of water lines to areas experiencing dry or failing wells that are subject to bacteria and contamination, upgrades to elevated storage tanks and improvement of facilities impacted by flooding conditions. 

Funding for the LMRWA will ensure that over $2.75 million in federal funds are secured and provide the necessary capacity to support regional economic development efforts.

The grants were awarded through a competitive process that focused primarily on environmental quality standards and public health concerns. Applications were reviewed using several criteria including severity of the problem, expected benefits, feasibility of the project, level of effort and readiness to begin construction. A full list of grant recipients is listed below. 

The purpose of the RIA is to support the construction and improvement of rural infrastructure through competitive grants and other financial assistance. The RIA is governed by a board of directors, and the S.C. Secretary of Commerce serves as the chairman.

South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority List of Funded Projects (May 2013)

City of Bennettsville

Residential Water Lines

$200,000

Town of Blackville

Waste Water Treatment Plant

$350,000

Chester Sewer District

Pump Station Upgrade

$350,000

Town of Chesterfield

Elevated Water Tank Renovations

$315,000

City of Clinton

Water Line Upgrade

$150,000

City of Denmark

Water Main Replacements

$350,000

Town of Estill

Pump Station Upgrade

$350,000

Town of Greeleyville          

Water Line Extension

$320,650

Greenwood Metropolitan District

Sewer Line Improvement

$500,000

Town of Hollywood      

Water Line Extension

$29,000

Lake Marion Regional Water Agency

Water Line Extension

$1,555,600

City of Lancaster                 

Sewer System Upgrade

$350,000

Town of Norway                 

Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade

$350,000

City of Sumter                      

Water System Improvements

$90,100

Sumter County                 

Water Line Extension

$227,194

Town of Ulmer                     

Elevated Water Tank Improvements

$150,000

Williamsburg County         

Waste Water Treatment Plant Improvements

$150,000