The spirit of cooperation is alive and well, and it resides in our area.
McDuffie County Commissioners voted last week to fill a gap that might have prevented Warren County from completing its county water system. The helping hand comes in the form of water sold through a line extension from the Shaw plant on Highway 278 to the county line.
The extension will connect the two water systems and allow Warren County to move ahead with expansion plans. The cooperation -- which will be of minimal cost to McDuffie County -- will also allow the water line from Pylant Crossing to loop back into the system, improving water quality.
McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton was glad to participate in a mutually beneficial project. And Warren County Commission Chairman John Graham is happy that McDuffie County was willing to chip in.
"As far as I know because of our willingness to help him out if he comes up a little bit short on that and some other arrangements he made with USDA, he has the ability to go forward now," Mr. Newton said.
Four grants and a loan from multiple funding sources still wasn't enough to complete the Warren County project when bids for construction came in at $2.3 million. Mr. Graham then came to McDuffie with the proposal to pay for the line extension if his county could benefit from the water.
"We started working on the process of implementing a county water system, and we decided to take a regional approach with it which was able to assist us with some funding," Mr. Graham said. "They were in agreement to sell water if we could put together the funding needed to try to start it."
The funding for Phase-I of the Warren County system expansion will go toward 20 miles of water lines.
Warren will pay for construction of the line connecting to McDuffie. The cost to McDuffie will be between $7,000 and $17,000 for valves and a meter on the line.
"It's going to be great for them because they'll finally have a county water system," Mr. Newton said. "It's going to be great for us because we get the use of that line at very little expense to us...It's just part of the regional cooperation that we try to have that folks at the state level like to see."
According to Mr. Newton, the potential for development along Hwy. 278 will increase because of the water line extension. The nearly two miles of new line within McDuffie can be tapped onto by residents or future industry.
"That part of the line is all in this grant and will be theirs for their system, so they're getting about a $300,000 investment on their side," Mr. Graham said. "It's a joint venture. They're selling us water, and we're helping them get that little bit of line so we can connect up. So it's all worked out pretty good."
Construction on the Warren County water system should begin in December, according to Mr. Graham. Once under way, it should take nine months to complete.