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Infrastructure Improvements Coming to Mills Mill, Dunean Mill and Union Bleachery Village Areas

June 21, 2023

  • Mills Mill, Dunean Mill and Union Bleachery Mill Villages are on schedule to begin sewer replacement in 2024.
  • Community informational meetings to be held prior to construction.
  • Projects will be funded through SCIIP and ARPA grants.

Critical Needs

Critically needed sewer infrastructure improvements are coming to Greenville’s Mill Villages. Three of the most pressing projects that will be handled by MetroConnects are in the Mills Mill, Dunean Mill, and Union Bleachery Mill Villages. Each Mill Village area has sewer systems that date back more than a century, and the clay pipes are well beyond their useful life. The condition of the pipes has caused excess Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) to enter into the sewer system, which contributes to sewage backups, Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), and increased pressure on Renewable Water Resources‘ Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRF) or wastewater treatment facilities. All of this adds up to health and environmental hazards in the communities. MetroConnects is excited to get to work improving the quality of life and the quality of service in these mill village areas!

Project Funding

MetroConnects is committed to providing the best service at the lowest cost possible for its ratepayers. To help mitigate the cost of the mill village projects, Metro underwent a rigorous process of applying for federal and state grants. As a result of those efforts, more than $27 million of the funds required for the projects will come from grants. This includes $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds awarded by the Greenville County Council in 2022, which will be split evenly between the Mills Mill and Dunean Mill projects. Also in 2022, MetroConnects was awarded $4 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for the Union Bleachery project. In 2023, MetroConnects learned that the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) awarded $20 million from the South Carolina Infrastructure Improvement Program (SCIIP), funded through ARPA. Half of that money will go to the Mills Mill project, and the other half will go to the Dunean project. In addition, MetroConnects has requested $500,000 from the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority to help supplement the Union Bleachery project’s costs.

Project Scope

Each of the three mill village projects involves sewer replacement, and in some cases, sewer relocation. When sewer systems and running water were established in the mill villages more than a century ago, regulation and engineering did not meet the same standards as established today (to learn more about the making of the mill villages, see MetroConnects blog series The Textile Crescent and the Making of Greenville County). Some of these older sewer lines were built under houses and manholes were sometimes located in basements — where they remain in use today. This, combined with the excessive I&I the older pipes allow, poses significant health risks for community members, where sewer backups, leaks, and overflows can take place in or near homes.

The Mills Mill project will involve rehabilitating, replacing, or relocating approximately 16,000 linear feet of deteriorated sewer lines. The Dunean project will involve 14,000 linear feet of sewer lines, and the Union Bleachery project will take care of 18,000 linear feet. All three projects will include repaving the roads where the new sewers are installed.

Next Steps

If you live in any of these Mill Village areas, you might have noticed MetroConnects survey teams in your area. These teams are completing preliminary surveys of the sewer systems for the project designs. The Mills Mill Village design is 60 percent complete and should be 100 percent complete by September of this year. Thirty percent of the Dunean Mill Village and Union Bleachery designs are complete, and MetroConnects expects that the design for each of these will be 100 percent complete by October. Bidding for construction for the Mills Mill project should begin in September and last for 30 days. The 30-day period for Union Bleachery is anticipated to begin in November, and the 30-day period for Dunean should begin in December. Once the individual projects reach 100 percent design, MetroConnects will organize community meetings to explain the next steps for the projects and answer questions. Construction is expected to begin in January 2024 for the Mills Mill and Union Bleachery areas, and in March 2024 for the Dunean Village area. In the meantime, watch the MetroConnects blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information. You can also call us directly at (864) 277-4442.