County receives $9M grant to improve stormwater infrastructure

June 7, 2024

Hickory Ridge development’s drainage system will benefit from upgrades

Richland County will use a $9 million state grant on a water project to rehabilitate and replace the drainage system for the Hickory Ridge development in Southeast Richland. The County has procured an engineer to begin the project’s design phase, and construction is projected to begin in spring 2025.

The County’s Stormwater Management Division received the grant through the S.C. Infrastructure Investment Program (SCIIP), which is administered by the state’s Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The state awards funding through the SCIIP for long-term capital improvements that strengthen critical infrastructure and create more stormwater-resilient communities.

Richland County Council approved the project in February, allowing County staff to move forward with the process of selecting a project engineer. The upgrades will affect about 90 households.

“Taking care of our stormwater infrastructure is vital for our community. These improvements will make life better for Hickory Ridge and for Lower Richland as a whole,” said County Councilwoman Chakisse Newton, whose Council District 11 includes the Hickory Ridge area.

A public meeting, set for July 8 at the Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center, 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins, will give updates on the project and allow for community input. The County will provide more details on this meeting soon.

Project is Critical to Infrastructure

Hickory Ridge is situated between the Mill Creek and Cabin Branch watersheds. Because water in the area contains high levels of bacteria, both watersheds are on the state’s list of impaired waterways, known as the 303(d) list. Richland County has prioritized Hickory Ridge as a potential critical infrastructure project since 2018, said David Pitts, the County’s Stormwater manager.

“The awarded SCIIP grant funds are vital to the success and completion of this Stormwater project,” Pitts said. “The strategic initiative for this project will help Richland County residents with flooding issues, and installing best management practices throughout the drainage infrastructure will help improve water quality.”

Hickory Ridge faces many of the stormwater problems typically associated with older residential developments, including undersized pipes, frequent flooding, erosion and pollutants. In high enough concentrations, these pollutants can harm humans, fish, amphibians and aquatic insects.

Proposed upgrades to improve water quality in the development include replacing the existing system with larger pipes, adding drainage pipe networks, excavating wider channels with shallow slopes, and implementing oil/grit separators or alternative best management practices. Richland County will make improvements using recommendations from a watershed and flood mitigation study completed in 2021.

Residents with questions or comments on the project can contact Pitts at [email protected] or 803-576-2421 or mail comments to: Richland County Public Works, Stormwater Management Division, Attention: David Pitts Jr., Stormwater Manager, 400 Powell Road, Columbia, SC 29203.