Officials say wastewater expansion needed in Fort Mill to keep pace with growth

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comNovember 5, 2013 

— In the next six months, Fort Mill leaders plan to find out how they can double their wastewater treatment operations to keep up with community growth.

Council unanimously voted last week to award a contract for almost $155,000 to a firm tasked with planning for the increase. Of a dozen bidders, engineering group Hazen and Sawyer was the pick to study the town’s current setup and find the best route to more capacity.

The town operates a wastewater treatment plant that’s been in place since 1987, with the latest upgrade in 2004. It’s been operating at about 1 million gallons per day for more than a decade, though it’s permitted for 3 million gallons per day. But as the town grows, so too must the plant.

Incoming developments approved just through this past spring will take new sewer connections, putting the plant at 65 percent of what it’s permitted to handle. The town’s engineering department put out a call in April for firms to evaluate needs and propose an expansion plan. Council expects word back from Hazen and Sawyer within six months.

That plan should show how to get to 6 million gallons per day “with room for additional expansion,” according to a staff recommendation provided to Council.

Water and sewer needs in a growing township are an ongoing item of interest for planners. The Fort Mill Southern Bypass construction brings needed utilities there. In recent years, water rate increases have been put in place to support infrastructure growth.

Earlier this year, York County Council bought an acre of land of the Fort Mill side of the Catawba River for a booster pump station and seven acres for water main, construction and access easements. A 30-inch water main beneath the river and the pump station were needed to provide water pressure particularly to the Carowinds, Fort Mill and Tega Cay areas.

The town isn’t involved in that county project. Paul Mitchell, engineering director for Fort Mill, said the wastewater capacity study is the main water and sewer focus right now for town planners.

“That’s the one thing we have going,” he said.

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