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Deadline nears to sign up for sewer service in lower Richland

Residents interested in connecting to County utilities through the Southeast Richland Water and Sewer Project have until Dec. 16 to sign up for services and avoid fees to tap into the system before construction begins.

Construction on the project, designed to address water and sewer concerns in Lower Richland County, is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2020 and end in late 2021. Richland County Utilities is extending the County’s existing water system and connecting sewer customers to the County’s wastewater treatment facility.

Combined monthly water and sewer rates for residents who tap into the system will be about $75, with additional charges for water based on usage.

Residents are not required to tap into the system. Those who prefer using private septic and/or water systems can continue doing so. For those who choose to connect later, the sewer tap fee typically runs about $4,000; water tap fees run about $1,500.

Connecting to public sewer service can lower maintenance costs and eliminate worry about septic tank failures or collapses, which can lead to the contamination of ground water and result in state fines and costly restoration.

The new sewer system will eliminate nearby wastewater lagoons at Hopkins Middle School, Gadsden Elementary School and Franklin Park that have struggled to meet S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations. The project will also benefit McEntire Joint National Guard Base, which has operated without public sewer service since its airfield was established in 1943.

The County will notify property owners in the affected area by mail this month.

Residents can sign up, ask about eligibility or get more information on the Southeast Richland Water and Sewer Project by calling Utilities at 803-401-0050 or visiting https://www6.richlandcountysc.gov/UtilitiesApps.