Water and sewer have kept Thomson and McDuffie County officials on the go lately. But that may soon begin to calm down.
Several things seem to be coming together all at the same time for the Thomson-McDuffie County water and sewer systems. Expansion and upgrade projects are either nearing completion or closing in on the construction phase.
Reports to that effect as well as the possibility of saving lots of money by refinancing the debt on the system made for an upbeat Joint Water-Sewer Commission meeting Tuesday evening.
"It is the point to which it appears to us that we need to do the refinancing," Thomson Mayor Bob Knox said at the meeting.
McDuffie County projects
The county government has taken the lead on two U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and low-interest loan funded projects. The first is an expansion of the sewer system, the second is water expansion.
The sewer project in Belle Meade, Dallas Drive and Hwy. 150 is going to bid soon. Easements and a mandatory use ordinance are both in place. According to County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton, the right of way certification map that must be submitted to USDA has just been completed.
Several residents are upset over what they call being forced to tap onto the sewer system. They showed up to a County Commission meeting earlier this month to find out the proper procedure for voicing their concerns.
Aside from upset residents making some noise, few are talking about the water line expansion project in the southeastern quadrant of the county.
It is not quite as far along as the sewer project, though. The county still requires paperwork from 250 people before the project can get underway. County officials put a call out for volunteers to help contact those people, but got no response.
"We are trying to do that ourselves right now. It may set us back a little bit on our schedule," Chairman Newton said. "I had hoped to break ground sometime before the first of September on that water project as well, but I don't know if we'll make that schedule now that we're having to make the 250 contacts on our own."
Officials will also find out this month if a Community Development Block Grant is approved to pay for expansion of sewer into the Hayes Line Road area. Chairman Newton said during an earlier commission meeting that several households in the area still do not have plumbing.
City of Thomson projects
Thomson is also working on improving both water and sewer. The sewer system work will soon be completed, but the work to the water plants will soon begin construction.
A granular activated carbon filter will be added to the back end of the two water plants to comply with federal and state guidelines on chlorine disinfection byproducts. The filter is in the design stages and will go to bid in August, said Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders. Construction should begin by late fall.
Mr. Flanders added that neither the construction nor the use of the filter will interrupt the water supply in any way. Once it is complete, the city will look at expanding the amount of water that can be treated at one time.
"Nobody will ever know that's done until, in fact, they probably won't ever know it's done unless we just tell them it is," Mr. Flanders said.
For the sewer system, the rehab that fixes inflow and infiltration problems in the system is nearing completion. Mr. Flanders said manholes are being replaced in several spots.
In late July and early August, city crews will start smoke testing to find any other problems in the system.
And the governments will have an easier road to paying off the debt for the massive construction cost of the system that dates back to the 1980s. Officials approved refinancing the debt at the Joint Water-Sewer Commission meeting that could help save more than $406,500 with an interest rate of 3.62 percent.