Winnsboro Eyes Broad River

Project Could Deliver 10 Millions Gallons of Water a Day

WINNSBORO – Town Council took its first official, however tentative, steps Tuesday night toward bolstering Winnsboro’s water reserves, and those steps lead toward the Broad River.

Council unanimously passed a resolution giving Town Manager Don Wood the authority to act on the Town’s behalf in coordinating the project, while also giving the OK to enter into contracts with three separate entities to help begin piecing the project together.

Following an executive session of more than an hour during their regular meeting Tuesday, during which time Council discussed the project with Margaret Pope of the Pope Zeigler Law Firm, Council emerged and agreed to contract with SWS Group; Utility Advisors Network, Inc. (UAN); and the Willoughby & Hoefer, PA Law Firm to assist with the project. All three would work on an as-needed basis, charging hourly rates, Pope said. Those rates were not, however, available at press time.

SWS, Pope said, would advise the Town on any bond issue that may be necessary to fund the project whose estimated costs range between $12 million and $13 million. UAN would advise the Town on the feasibility of the project and the sufficiency of water rates needed to pay for the project. If rates need to be adjusted, Pope said, or if certain fees, such as capacity fees for industry, needed to be put into place to cover the project, UAN would devise the formula for those rates and/or fees. Willoughby & Hoefer, meanwhile, would aid the Town in acquiring the necessary permits from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Councilman Jackie Wilkes said after the meeting that the project was still very much in its infancy, with the acquisition of land along the Broad River the first hurdle to clear. Wilkes said the Town was considering five different tracts and hopes to make an offer on its first option soon.

Once the land is purchased, Winnsboro will have to go through the permitting process with DHEC. Preliminary engineering for the project would then have to be completed, giving the Town an idea of just how much money they will be looking for through bonds. Winnsboro last month freed up a considerable amount of debt with the final payment on a nearly $12 million bond that was issued for water treatment plant upgrades.

The entire endeavor may take several years, and require around 9 miles of water lines, but once completed could pump as much as 10 million gallons of water a day from the Broad River into Winnsboro’s reservoir.