NEWBERRY — Newberry City Council members toured Newberry’s water and waste water treatment plants last week to see what improvements could be made as a part of this year’s Capital Improvement Plan.
Following touring both plants, council held a work session to discuss improvements needed at each facility.
Opening in 1973, the water treatment plant used to be located where Newberry’s police and fire department currently stands.
Angela Summer, superintendent of the water treatment plant, said the original floors are still a part of the plant, as are the single-paned windows that have a haze from years of chemical fumes.
“You can wash them, but the haze never comes off,” she said.
According to Summer, the water treatment plant is responsible for pumping on average six million gallons of water per day to roughly 20,000 people in Newberry and Saluda counties.
The plant has the capability to treat as much as eight million gallons per day, Summer said.
“Someone is here 365 days a year, 24 hours a day,” she said.
Marc Regier, utility director for the city, stated that with the plant being 40 years old they must make improvements in order to maintain the efficiency and service that customers are used to.
“DHEC is more stringent on drinking water requirements than ever,” Regier said.
According to Regier, one of the most needed improvements for the water treatment plant is the clearwell, which holds two and a half million gallons of water.
Summer said the current clearwell has a divot in the room, but in order to repair it, it must be taken offline. “We would need a back-up,”Summer said, in order to repair anything.
Regier said the current clearwell has not been offline in the past 20 years. “The clearwell is in need of serious maintenance,” he said.
Using utility bonds, Regier said, the cost of the new clear well and water plant rehabilitation will be at an estimated 10 million dollars. With the construction of this new clearwell, the current one can be repaired.
Regier said the new clearwell will also hold two and a half million gallons of water. He estimates both portions of the project to be completed in about two years.
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Newberry’s waste water treatment plant opened in 1981 and in 2011 received an 18 million dollar renovation, according to Tim Cogdell, superintendent of the waste water treatment plant.
The renovations were done, Cogdell said, to meet and keep up with stricter regulations for nutrients.
Regier said the plant is in good shape overall, but the influent structure needs rehabilitation as the foundation is cracked from years of wear/tear.
The total cost of the project is dependent upon the completion of the engineering review.
Mayor Foster Senn said he felt the tours were a good opportunity to see what the capital improvements will do.
“It’s one thing to talk about the improvements in a meeting and see it on paper, but the tour enabled us to see why and how the work will be done. It was very helpful,” Senn said.
Senn said the capital improvements would benefit Newberry and their customers for many years to come.
“The daily work of the water and waste water plants is some of the most important work the city does, and it’s vital for our residential, commercial and industrial customers,” Senn said.