Federal grant will upgrade Heath Springs sewer facility

Heath Springs will get a much-needed $1.4 million upgrade at the town’s wastewater treatment plant, thanks to a federal grant that pays for 86 percent of the work.
The money for the upgrades is coming from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program facilitated by the S.C. Commerce Department.
Town council unanimously voted Tuesday night to provide the $190,000 local match to get the federal funding.
 “It’s an old, old plant really in need of some major upgrades,” said town council member Elaine Lehr.
The money will be used to build a new headworks area where wastewater flows into the plant. It will also pay for new pumps and equipment needed in the treatment process, as well as adding new lights. The treatment plant is located at the end of Hart Street.
The last upgrading at the town’s wastewater plant was in 2005. The plant is licensed to treat 150,000 gallons of wastewater per day.
Council also considered making partial improvements at a cost of $845,000 this year and finishing the project in 2020, but instead chose to upgrade the entire facility. Construction will start later this year.
“You can see the grants are quite handy to have,” Lehr said, noting that doing all the upgrades at once will result in future savings. 
“To go back in again means another inspection and another process to get started, which adds to the amount. If we wait and do it in segments, it’s going to cost us more than doing the one lump sum. I don’t think we can afford not to,” Lehr said.  
Council voted to take the money needed for the $190,000 match from the town’s Emergency Expansion Fund. Each month, the town places $3,000 in the EEF, which currently has $342,000 in it.
The town is also updating its seven sewer lift stations through separate CDBG funding. The lift stations are high-voltage pumps that move wastewater from lower to higher elevations in areas with insufficient gravity flow.

By Gregory A. Summers, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News