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Posted 3/30/2018

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By Sean McBride

When they drove their shovels into the ground, it was the beginning of something exciting happening in Harleyville, S.C. Thanks to the freshly broken ground, a new water transmission line, which will bring safe, reliable drinking water, will soon be a reality for this underdeveloped area.

The groundbreaking happened on February 12th, with nine representatives poised with golden shovels on solid ground. These people represented agencies involved in the Lake Marion Regional Water Supply Project, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Santee Cooper, Dorchester County and the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency. Also digging in was Rep. James Clyburn, South Carolina’s sixth district representative, who has been invested in the Lake Marion project from the beginning.

“I’m all for development, but the most important thing to me about this project is the safe, clean drinking water for our citizens,” said Clyburn. “That’s why I’ve stayed the course… to help cure the water issue in underdeveloped areas in my district.”

This most recent phase of the project is labeled as the Dorchester Reach and this segment of water transmission line will stretch 10.7 miles from Harleyville to Ridgeville. The project began in 2008 with the construction of the Lake Marion Water Treatment Facility that has the capability of producing eight million gallons of clean drinking water per day from Lake Marion. Five phases of reaches have been constructed since then and, with the addition of the Dorchester Reach, will amount to 45.4 miles of water transmission pipes. The Dorchester Reach will serve approximately 25,000 residents, as well as countless businesses and the future Volvo plant complex, which is expected to be a huge economic engine for central South Carolina regionally.

Plans are ongoing to extend the state-of-the-art system further into the region when federal and local cost-share-matching funds become available in the future.

“The Charleston District is proud to partner with [these agencies] to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water to Calhoun, Dorchester, Orangeburg, and Berkeley Counties for both municipal and industrial consumption,” said Lt. Col. Jason Legro, Charleston District deputy commander. “We’ve enjoyed this partnership for over a decade now and are proud to be part of the team bringing a reliable source of potable water to portions of multiple counties and six municipalities.”

The Dorchester Reach will cost approximately $10 million and is scheduled for completion in early 2019.