The fourth and final phase of the Orangeburg County-West Edisto Sewer System will extend sewer lines to Edisto High School and enable about 80 homes to connect, according to Orangeburg County officials.
Orangeburg County has entered into a $3.9 million contract with GH Smith Construction to begin the project with a target start date late February or early March.
The project will be complete in July or August 2021.
"Without sewer, development of housing and commercial properties is severely limited to what the soil can manage with septic tanks," Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said. "Over time, septic tanks also contribute to groundwater quality issues in densely populated areas with large numbers of septic tanks."
"The availability of sewer service reduces the need for long-term maintenance of septic tanks and allows for increased development," Young said.
Currently, the homes are on septic systems.
The county has received about $1.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan and a $1.5 million USDA grant to help fund the project. About $750,000 in 1-cent capital project sales tax monies will also be used to help fund the project.
The primary purpose of Phase IV of the project will be to connect Edisto High School to the existing county sewer system. The school has had a small wastewater treatment plant with a lagoon system.
The capacity of the lagoon system has not kept up with the growth of the school. The sewer expansion will help the high school grow without having wastewater limits.
The scope is about 2,953 linear feet of 15-inch and 14,050 linear feet of 8-inch gravity sewer line and 10,825 linear feet of 6-inch force main and 1,100-gallons-per-minute pump station.
In addition to connecting to Edisto High School, the sewer lines will connect to the Town of Cordova and are sized to handle all of the residents along the route as well as Edisto Elementary school.
The project starts at Lindberg Drive and Cordova Road and continues along Cordova Road into Cordova, along Railroad Avenue, onto Legrand Smoak Road until it reaches Edisto High School.
Young said the cost of hookup for customers "will be dependent on the cost of the project and how it bids out."
This is the fourth and final phase of the county-owned and designed West Edisto Sewer System project, which has benefited from the county's 1% capital sales tax and USDA funds in each of its phases.
This final phase will begin at the intersection of Cordova Road and Huson Circle and will extend through the Town of Cordova and then to the high school.
The lines will not extend to U.S. Highway 301. Currently, that region of U.S. 301 does have water lines and but no public wastewater.
Phase one of the project took sewer lines to the area at the corner of U.S. 301 and Cannon Bridge Road. The second phase took it to the area near Rivelon Road and the third phase extended it to the Huson Circle area.
The sewer project has been a decade in the making. A total of about $8 million has been invested for all four phases.
The Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities has served as a subcontractor for the sewer already in that region of the county, handling administration, operations and maintenance of the system.
Young said the four-phase sewer project has been successful. The entire system has meant between 500 to 600 homes that previously did not have public sewer now do so. He also said as the system grows its revenues cover its costs.
But he said most importantly the system is a win-win for those who are able to connect.
"It has allowed for a better public health situation for the citizens, and a number of businesses were able to locate over there," Young said.
One example is the current travel plaza and Greyhound bus station. The addition of sewer has also attracted a car wash and a Family Dollar. Nearby on S.C. Highway 4, the Seventh-day Adventist convention center was built.