Grants awarded for water, sewer improvements

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

STATE — Area municipalities and utilities are among the local governments and public water and sewer utilities slated to receive $1.369 billion in grants from the S.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority.

The South Carolina Infrastructure Investment Program grants were announced on April 24. The funds are intended to assist with


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improvements for clean drinking water, sanitary sewer and stormwater resilience, according to a release from the authority.

“The vital infrastructure improvements these funds will deliver across South Carolina will be a game changer,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “The availability of critical services not only improves the immediate quality of life for our citizens, but it also makes our state more attractive for impactful and sustained economic development.”

The S.C. Infrastructure Investment Program (SCIIP) was created by RIA as a major, one-time initiative designed to have a transformative impact on water, wastewater and stormwater systems in small and disadvantaged communities, as well as larger, growing communities, using federal funds allocated by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the release said.

“Today, we are making a huge difference by investing in our future,” RIA executive director Bonnie Ammons said. “The funds awarded throughout the state will go a long way in addressing the sustainability of water and sewer systems for the long term. In many cases, these funds will transform communities.”

Projects selected by RIA’s board of directors are designed to address a range of needs that will protect public health and the environment and build capacity for the future, the release said.

Priorities for project selection included regional solutions involving multiple utilities, protection of public health and water quality, resilience and storm protection, modernization of aging infrastructure, capacity development and economic opportunities, the release said.

Liberty Mayor Erica Romo Woods announced her city’s award in a special video message to residents.

“We were awarded — drum roll, please — just over $1.6 million  to help replace our aging water lines,” Woods said.

Liberty was awarded $1,630,136 for water system improvements, the authority said.

Easley Combined Utilities will receive $10 million for the Georges Creek trunk sewer line, the authority said.

The city of Easley will receive $433,951 for Lakeshore Drive drainage system upgrades, the authority said.

The city of Pickens was awarded $4,947,268 for water system improvements.

The Pickens Regional Joint Water System was awarded $10 million for water transmission and storage.

The Pickens County Public Service Commission was awarded $163,803 to replace the filter at the 18 Mile Creek Middle Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Six Mile Water District was awarded $3,933,440 for water improvements, the authority said.

Except for those requesting grants for planning, all recipients were required to provide matching funds for the grant request, the authority said.

Applicants that serve fewer than 30,000 people, or are located in a county designated as Tier III or IV by the S.C. Department of Revenue, had a 15 percent match requirement. Large utilities, serving more than 30,000, were required to provide a 25 percent match requirement. In all, the SCIIP awards will leverage an additional $900 million in matching funds — local and other dollars committed to implement the projects, the authority said.

According to the city’s Facebook page, the city of Pickens will use bonds for the grant match, for a project total of $6.2 million. Rosier Engineering assisted the city in receiving the funds.

Recipients of the funds will be able to get started on their projects in the next couple of months, with a deadline to spend all funds by Dec. 31, 2026, the authority said.

At least one project in every county in the state is slated to receive funding, the authority said.


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