Water headlines intergovernment meeting for Winnsboro

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

March 1, 2014

RIDGEWAY — The Town of Winnsboro’s ongoing saga and search for a sustainable source of water continues.

During the recent intergovernmental meeting, Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy requested access to the Corps of Engineers report regarding viable water sources in the county.

Believing the report would be completed in December 2013, Gaddy said he talked to interim County Administrator Milton Pope about the report and hopes it will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, the town has talked to SCE&G about pulling 1 million gallons out of Lake Monticello.

Gaddy noted that the town has secured some right-of-way, but there is still a lot of work to be done before installing a pipeline.

“If we can get some direction from them, the town would like to get that ball rolling,” he stated.

Gaddy is hopeful that the Corps of Engineers believes Lake Monticello is a viable option for water, so the Town of Winnsboro can save money currently being used to buy water from Columbia.

“We’re certainly anxious to get that, so we can get some direction and understanding which direction the town needs to go to get a reliable supply of water,” he said.

Several months ago, the town secured a water contract with Columbia to purchase 1 million gallons to help supply the county’s industrial park.

“It’s just that that Columbia water is a little more expensive and unfortunately that rate has to be passed along to folks,” Gaddy noted. “I’m not real thrilled about going back to do business with Columbia because they’ve been hard to deal with.”

According to Gaddy, the contract with Columbia is becoming costly and he would like to move ahead with the plans to secure a sustainable water source and provide water to possible industry moving in to the county.

“We’d like to get some preliminary reports from the corps of engineers so Winnsboro can begin to plan for the future,” he said. “Some of these industries use a lot of water and we’re going to have to be able to supply that to them.”

Winnsboro is in the process of having a permanent pump installed to push water to the industrial park as opposed to renting one, which is currently costing nearly $11,000 per month.

Wateree Construction out of Sumter won the bid for the contract to build the permanent water pump.

Town manager Don Wood noted that he recently signed the contracts and the pumps had been ordered.

Several developers in the Blythewood area have recently requested water from the Town of Winnsboro including a 500-lot development and another for 95 lots.

Gaddy said the town has had to deny service to those developments because there is not enough water in reserve.

“Our first responsibility is to the citizens of Winnsboro and Fairfield County,” he stated.

Gaddy noted that if the town went forward with supplying the additional Blythewood developments, they would have to build a new water tank near Blythewood. The new tank would cost nearly $1 million, which the town would plan to pass that cost along to the developers.