No Water for Proposed Subdivision

WINNSBORO – A proposed subdivision just over the county line in Blythewood will have to seek water elsewhere after Winnsboro Town Council passed on an informal request for service during Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

The request was presented to Council by Creighton Coleman, one of the Town’s attorneys, who said he had been approached by developers seeking guidance on where to best obtain water. Coleman was unspecific about the exact location of the proposed subdivision, but indications are that the site comprises approximately 141.5 acres on Blythewood Road adjacent to Cobblestone.

“A bank owns the piece of property. I think it’s a foreclosed piece of property,” Coleman told Council. “They had it sold on two different occasions to a developer, but the deal fell through because of lack of water.”

Coleman said the development would take 273,000 gallons of water a day, “Which is a lot,” he said. There was also some question concerning the size of Winnsboro’s pipes in the area and whether or not they could handle the extra capacity.

“I certainly understand the water situation here,” Coleman said. “And not to do anything that would compromise our water for the town. So I’m sort of looking at ya’ll for some direction to tell these people how to best go about looking into this.

“I think it’s important to work with these people because I think that is a gateway to the development in our county,” Coleman added. “This is in Richland, but it’s right on the line. Before we get development in Fairfield, they’re going to have to fill up there and there’s going to be spillover. We’re getting spillover now, but this is a larger development with a lot of homes.”

Jesse Douglas, Director of Water and Sewer for the Town, said the issue was not only the size of the Winnsboro’s pipes, but also the Town’s existing obligations in the Blythewood area. Winnsboro was committed to the University Club (Cobblestone), he said, as well as an obligation on Boney Road that the Town has not been able to fulfill.

“They’re really requiring us to work more than we possibly can to keep up the system,” Douglas said. “Right now, my feeling is if we aren’t careful, and if we continue on, we won’t have enough (Columbia) water to send back to Winnsboro and we won’t have the pipeline capacity to bring it back to Winnsboro.”

Douglas said there was also only one water tank in that area, and if it went down for maintenance the area could be left high and dry. Douglas recommended deferring service to the proposed development. Mayor Roger Gaddy suggested that Coleman steer water queries for that development directly to the City of Columbia, although Douglas noted that that would require Columbia to run approximately a mile of pipeline to tie into existing lines.

“That’s going to be their quickest bet and their best bet,” Gaddy said. “We’ve still got work to do with our water situation; getting a stable, permanent water supply.”