Community meetings will continue through August to inform residents about Richland County’s plans to build a sewerage system serving Lower Richland County.
The first two meetings are this week. At 6 p.m. Monday, county officials met with residents at Hopkins Park, 150 Hopkins Park Road; another meeting will take place there at the same time Thursday. Residents of Lower Richland, Hopkins and Eastover are encouraged to attend, according to a news release from Richland County.
Construction is expected to begin in the fall on the first phase of a transmission system leading from near Lower Richland High, just shy of Bluff Road, then southeast to Eastover.
The long-awaited system, coupled with a new road into Lower Richland extending Shop Road to Garners Ferry Road, is expected to open the rural area to development.
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Maps showing the proposed routes of sewerage transmission lines will be available at the meetings, said Dan Purini, special projects manager for the county utilities department.
The first phase, costing about $13 million, is expected to be finished during the late spring or early summer of 2015, Purini said.
Developers pressed the city of Columbia and Richland County to reach an agreement on the service area.
As part of that agreement, Purini said, about 1,000 sewerage customers living around the high school will be redirected from the city to the county at lower monthly rates once the transmission lines are hooked to an existing treatment plant at Eastover.
The federal government is providing a $9.36 million loan to complete the first of three phases. State and county governments are kicking in the remainder.
Purini said he expects the entire project to be complete by 2017-18.
Residents will be given opportunities to sign up for service at the meetings. Purini said the county needs at least 200 new customers to put the construction contract out to bid. The first phase has a capacity of about 500 new customers.
The county’s rates will be a flat $37.60 a month, charged quarterly, Purini said.