Hampton agency gets $8.3 million for wastewater projects

A wastewater treatment facility in Yemassee, S.C.

A wastewater treatment facility in Yemassee, S.C.  Photo courtesy Lowcountry Regional Water System.

SEPT. 17, 2015 — Lowcountry Regional Water System is the first recipient of a multimillion dollar grant package through the new South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone, officials announced today.

A $1,864,000 grant and $6,480,000 loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the Hampton County-based water and sewer agency to make improvements that will expand sewerage capacity, which will make the county more attractive for economic development, said Brian Burgess, general manager of Lowcountry Regional Water System. The project also will allow the agency to rehabilitate sewer lines in Hampton, upgrade the agency’s water meter system throughout the county, and paint and repair water towers in Yemassee and Gifford.

15.0917.hampton“This project will significantly open up wastewater treatment capacity at the plants in Hampton and Yemassee,” Burgess said. He explained the grant-loan package would allow both facilities to remove sludge which has filled about 30 percent of the capacity in recent years. Hampton’s plant is designed to treat 2 million gallons of wastewater a day, while Yemassee’s has one-quarter the capacity. The funding will allow Hampton to restore about 600,000 gallons in daily capacity and will let Yemassee restore 200,000 gallons in capacity, Burgess said.

“This is a big investment in our area’s infrastructure and should make us more attractive to industries looking to locate in the county,” Burgess added. “Had we not been part of the Promise Zone and received extra Promise Zone points on our application, we might have never gotten this funding. This is the fastest I’ve ever seen a project get funded and I appreciate our partnership with USDA and the Promise Zone for making it happen.

Danny Black, president and CEO of the SouthernCarolina Alliance, said Lowcountry Regional Water System’s use of the Promise Zone designation awarded in April by the federal government illustrates the importance of community agencies and nonprofits using the designation to fund projects that increase economic activity. SouthernCarolina Alliance serves as lead organization of the Promise Zone.

“The success that Lowcountry Regional Water System has had with the Promise Zone process highlights how we can use the designation to get major projects funded that, when implemented strategically, can change lives for people throughout the SouthernCarolina region,” Black said.

The South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone, a project of the SouthernCarolina Alliance, seeks to catalyze efforts in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties to boost the quality of life and revitalize rural communities.
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