It's been a long, long time in the making.
This week, though, a 72-mile water expansion project got underway in South McDuffie County, which will allow between 800 and 1,000 new customers to have municipal water services by the end of the year.
"This is a huge day for me and for the citizens who will benefit from this project," remarked McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton following last Thursday's pre-construction conference held at Thomson City Hall. "We have been through a lot of gyration in our attempt to get as many people water as wanted it. I'm very happy that the project is fixing to start up."
Tractor-trailer trucks, laden with hundreds and hundreds of water pipe, began arriving in various parts of McDuffie County on Monday. Construction on the project is expected to begin along Neal's Mill Road near Dearing, according to Bill Crowder, project engineer with Precision Planning.
Construction on the water expansion project is being done under two different contracts - one with Mid-South Builders Inc. of Lithonia, Ga. and the other with Sweetgrass Inc. of Carrollton, Ga.
Representatives of both of those construction companies met with Mr. Crowder, city and county officials and officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Georgia Department of Transportation. Specific guidelines were issued to both construction companies concerning pay scheduling, and the importance of staying in touch with Project Observer Bob Eick.
Mr. Eick, who is retired from the City of Thomson, will provide local officials with a weekly report on the progress of the project.
The project is being funded primarily by a loan from the USDA. Some funding also is being provided by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
Persons who have not already signed up to receive water service are reminded they must pay a $600 tap-on fee. The money must be paid at Thomson City Hall before water connections are ever made, according to officials.