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New Smoaks water system to soon start running

After more than a decade of planning and waiting and working, officials with the Town of Smoaks can see an end-date for the long-awaited water improvement project.

According to Smoaks Mayor Richard Linder, the town’s new water system will be finalized in about three weeks, with the slated end date for the project set for August 22nd.

This project includes the town having a new piping water network laid from the town’s water source. The larger pipes will improve water quality to the town’s residents, and will also improve the water quality, said Linder.

“This new water system is going to give us a better fire protection service, better water pressure. It’s giving us an overall better quality of life,” he said.

The project was chosen to be among about one dozen projects funded throughout Colleton County through the Capital Improvement Sales Tax. Through a referendum, Colleton voters chose to add an additional one-cent sales tax to all county retail items. This money is expected to generate about $32 million total, or about $8 million per each of the four years. The four-year time frame was selected by voters as part of the referendum.

So far, the monies generated have funded a massive beach renourishment at Edisto Beach; this new water system at Smoaks; new expansions at the Colleton County Recreational Complex; sidewalks improvements for the City of Walterboro; renovations to the Hampton Street Auditorium; and is helping to construct the new massive countywide law enforcement complex.

Additionally, the funds will also help build the county’s new citizen services building: this building is in the process of being designed and constructed near the current county administrative building and the Colleton County Detention Center.

The new water system included a new piping system for the town. “This is going to give us better fire protection, better water pressure. An overall better quality of life.”

According to Linder, the town has about 100 residents who live inside Smoaks’ limits. Additionally, however, the water system supplies water to a former school property that has been turned into housing quarters for Williams Farms. The town also furnishes water to the nearby Valley Forge industrial plant, he said.

Linder says plans for the water upgrades began about 10 years ago, when town leaders starting to see a need for a new water system. However, the Capital Sales Tax funds gave the town the needed money to actually put the plans into motion. The town also fronted money for the project, with additional funding coming from a grant from the S.C. Rural Water Association.

“We finally got it done,” he said. “We are so grateful.”

Linder says there are currently no more projects looming in the town’s immediate future, adding, however, that the town’s leaders are “always looking ahead.”

“We do have a fully-manned fire department in town, and with the town’s new water system, I hope the town will soon have a new ISO rating done.” There is no set date for a new water-supply test, or ISO evaluation/inspection, to be done for the town, he said. These tests are done to as part of fire-service protection plans, and can help lower property taxes for residents.

Heather Walters (1410 Posts)