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Metro Sewer Meeting Community’s Needs

July 18, 2011

By Jim Freeland

In 1969, Metropolitan Sewer Subdistrict (Metro) was formed to provide sanitary sewer collection for a growing Greenville County. Following the vision of the community leaders that created Metro, we have embraced the responsibility of owning, operating and maintaining the sanitary sewer collection systems that serve over 58,000 customers in Greenville County. Metro also constructs new sanitary sewers to serve existing areas with failing septic tanks and to support growth within the county. Over the past fifteen years Metro has focused on proactive maintenance of our 601 miles of pipelines and we have rehabilitated much of our older clay systems. We continue to reinvest in our existing systems to provide quality service to our customers and to maintain the value of the infrastructure.

As Board Chairman, I am proud that Metro continually does its part to keep sanitary sewer lines functioning properly through a preventative maintenance program seeking to avoid issues rather than reactively repairing. And now, as a Board, we feel it is time that Metro look towards the future and reflect the changes that we have dedicated ourselves to over the years.

As Metro seeks to continually improve the infrastructure of our community, we are also evolving and improving internally. Our new logo, MetroConnects, not only signifies the literal link between homes and wastewater treatment plants, but also represents the connection Metro has with our community. We dedicate ourselves to providing Sustainable Wastewater Solutions, reflecting our long term commitment to providing and maintaining sanitary sewer collections within Greenville County while being environmental stewards.

To support this mission, Metro has dedicated itself to helping areas in need of repairs and implementing a maintenance program that will meet federal and state regulations. Most recently, Metro has served integral roles in projects with the Slater Sanitary Sewer District (SSSD) and the Piedmont Public Service District (Piedmont). Funded by grants from the state, and with Metro’s manpower, these communities will benefit from a properly functioning sanitary sewer infrastructure.

The existing SSSD was constructed in the late 1920’s and was in need of significant repair. Renewable Water Resources, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the Slater Water, Light and Sewer Commission requested that Metro add the system to its inventory to provide for system-wide rehabilitation and a sustainable operation and maintenance program. Metro received $2.2 million in stimulus funding to rehabilitate the sewer system. The current project is relocating deteriorated and undersized sewer lines from the rear of properties into the streets for better access and serviceability. The Greenville County Redevelopment Authority assisted in obtaining and administering an additional $500K to fund the portion of our project to reconnect the existing homes to the new sewer lines.

Metro has also secured $7.8 million for the Piedmont Sanitary Sewer System. The project will repair and relocate the more than 100 year old system that currently serves approximately 900 properties in the community. Metro is currently working to satisfy the South Carolina Clean Water State Revolving Fund’s requirements for the implementation of this project. The funding of this crucial project relieves this financial burden from the system’s customers and the average property owner is expected to receive annual savings in taxes and fees. The upgrades will increase overall efficiency of the system and result in potential energy and wastewater treatment cost savings of a quarter million dollars. Metro is demonstrating our commitment to the community and environment through working on projects to improve efficiency and create sustainability for our infrastructure.

While many view our sewer lines as an “out of sight, out of mind” issue, they require continual attention. They are crucial to our communities, environment and economic development. Investment in public infrastructure is critical to sustaining our property values and growing our communities. Metro continues to strive to follow the goals set forth by our founders while growing to meet the needs of the community, maintaining our existing system at optimal operating levels, providing our customers with responsive, quality service and finding solutions for the challenges for serving the future of Greenville County and the Upstate.