Twelve years ago, what was previously a pipe dream became a reality- clean drinking water for residents and businesses of the rural area near Lake Marion, SC.
In 2008, the Lake Marion Water Treatment Plant was completed, which has led to subsequent projects that have supplied water to the towns of Santee, Elloree, Holly Hill, Harleyville and more.
The Lake Marion Regional Water System connects a large area of Orangeburg, Dorchester and Berkeley counties to a water distribution system. To date, the Charleston District has completed nine water supply projects with the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency and Santee Cooper.
Earlier this year, the Dorchester Reach was completed for a total cost of $12.6 million. The Dorchester Reach is approximately 60,000 linear feet, or 11 miles, of water piping and stretches from Harleyville to Ridgeville. This reach will carry up to two million gallons per day and supply approximately 25,000 people. This brings the total to 45 miles of water pipe that have been constructed, tested, flushed and disinfected to bring clean drinking water to thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses in the area.
“Much of the economic growth seen in the central South Carolina region can be attributed to the availability of a reliable, clean water supply,” said Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, Charleston District commander, during a virtual ceremony. “We’re proud to partner with the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency and Santee Cooper to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water to the area.”
In addition to providing clean water to residents, this phase of the project enabled large companies, such as Volvo and, soon, Walmart, to locate large production and distribution centers in the region, which also brings hundreds of jobs to those in need.
With the implementation of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides up to 75 percent of implementation costs and oversees project management, environmental compliance, contract procurement and contract quality assurance for all the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency projects. The intent of this program is to assist underserved communities and serve as an economic catalyst for both municipal and industrial users.
“The partnership is already working on the next phase of the project,” said Honderd. “Winding Woods Reach and an elevated tank have a projected award for next year.”
The Charleston District continues to expedite these projects to ensure that everyone has the access to clean drinking water that they deserve.