RW line agreement still elusive

WINNSBORO – County Deputy Administrator Synithia Williams announced at the July 11 county council meeting that, “We’ve made a great deal of progress on the wastewater treatment project.”

But much of that presumed progress depends on the Towns of Winnsboro and Ridgeway and the Joint Water Authority (Joint Systems) agreeing to the county’s stipulations.

So far that hasn’t happened, mainly because of stipulations the county has made about the ownership and operation of a wastewater line it wants to construct to connect the Town of Winnsboro’s wastewater treatment plant with the Town of Ridgeway and the Commerce Industrial area prior to the construction of the Joint System’s proposed waste water treatment plant.

Williams says that once the Ridgeway line is constructed, the effluent from the Ridgeway area and eventually the Commerce Industrial Park area would flow to Winnsboro for treatment until the new waste water treatment plant is constructed and operational.

This is where the agreement boggs down according to officials with the Town of Winnsboro and the Town of Ridgeway.

Williams said at the July 11 meeting that, “The Joint System will own the line, not the Town of Winnsboro. Because the Joint System currently lacks the staff and equipment to operate the Ridgeway line, the Joint System will lease the line to the Town of Winnsboro for a nominal sum until the new treatment plant is completed.”

She went on to report that the Town of Winnsboro will have to maintain and operate the line at its own expense during that period.

“When the Joint System’s new wastewater treatment plant is finished, the Town’s lease on the line will end,” Williams said,“ and the Town will reverse the flow of the effluent to the new plant for treatment.”

At that point, Williams said the Joint System will own and operate the line and will have to pay the cost to maintain the line.

There is No Agreement

Town of Winnsboro officials say there is no agreement the Town of Winnsboro will lease the Ridgeway line, pay a nominal lease fee to the Joint Systems or pay the costs to operate and maintain the line.

“We think the line is a good idea,” Winnsboro Town Manager Jason Taylor said, “but there are enormous costs associated with operating that line. Someone has to pay that cost, and our Town Council has not discussed or agreed to any of that.”

Williams told council that Winnsboro will fund the maintenance and operation of the line out of the Town of Winnsboro’s revenue from treating wastewater carried by the line.

While The Town of Ridgeway has passed a resolution to allow the line to be constructed across its property, Ridgeway Mayor Heath Cookendorfer said Ridgeway council has not agreed to use the line to send its effluent to Winnsboro and it has not agreed to pay any costs associated with the building  maintenance or use of the line.

“We told the county that they can build the line, but they have to pay for it. We are not, so far as we know now, going to use it to send our wastewater to Winnsboro, so we aren’t going to pay for it or pay Winnsboro,” Cookendorfer said.

“There is also no agreement for Winnsboro to take Ridgeway’s effluent,” Taylor added. He said, again, the cost would be enormous to send effluent to Winnsboro, and we have not agreed to take effluent unless we are paid to take it.”

Grant Money for Line

In addition to the costs of operating and maintaining the Ridgeway line, those involved with the line suggest it could cost as much as $18 million to construct.

Williams told council at the July 11 meeting that the county has engaged American Engineering to do preliminary drawings for the line and to complete an application for the county for a $20 million SCIIP grant to pay for the line.

That grant application must be submitted by the middle of September, and the agreements regarding ownership, costs, operation, maintenance and other permissions from the Towns must be finalized before the grant application can be signed and submitted.

When questioned about that agreement,  Williams said in a later email to The Voice that the agreement drafted by the county’s legal counsel to lease the line at a nominal cost to the Town of Winnsboro, who would handle operation and maintenance, is yet to be finalized.


  1. Buck says

    Fairfield County and Winnsboro will never grow as long as you have people on councils, mayors and administrators who are greedy for power, control and money. The county has 45 million to build a plant that they are willing to share with the town and Ridgeway so everyone can grow together. The town has a power hungry administrator who wants to take over and control all of the counties settlement money and is willing to hold back growth for everyone. It’s the counties citizens money not the towns. If the town of Winnsboro wants to be a equal ( not controlling) partner they should bring some money to the table. The utilities almost defaulted on a bond earlier this yr. due to poor management of their utility revenue and expenses as this paper has barely covered. The county just got a 650k for the town for a generator for the towns sewer plant and the county received not one iota of credit from them or this paper. Time for some honesty. The town is acting greedy and not a willing partner. Maybe someone else would be a better partner to allow county to move on with recruting industry.

  2. Darrell says

    How personal dislike for an employee or elected official and the get even at all cost attitude can come before the needs of the citizens and the County leaves me flabbergasted. It seems the town expects the county to give them control of our counties tax dollars. Looks like the town of Winnsboro is saying what’s ours is ours and what’s yours is ours. These talks have been going on for ten years. Get it done.

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