As four Midlands leaders discussed challenges faced and achievements reached by their towns at Thursday’s Mayors Metro Forecast edition of the Columbia Regional Business Report’s Power Breakfast Series, one accomplishment stood out to Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall.
MacDougall spoke with evident pride about ending wastewater discharge into the lower Saluda River from the long-troubled Carolina Water Service plant. The Town of Lexington took ownership of the plant on Feb. 1, and on Wednesday, MacDougall pushed a button at a new pump station on Cromer Road to funnel the wastewater to a regional treatment facility in Cayce.
“Yesterday, we closed the valve connected to the river that was leaking sewage into the river and turned the pumps on to drain the pond that valve was connected to. We are now flowing a million gallons a day to our state-of-the-art facility in Cayce,” MacDougall said. “That pipe will never leak into the river again.”
Carolina Water had incurred several environmental violations in its 20 years of operating the facility near I-20 that services 2,000 customers. In April 2017, a federal judge fined the company $1.5 million and ordered it to stop discharging sewage into the river. A 2017 engineering analysis found 45% of the facility’s pipes were leaking or in need of replacement within five years.
MacDougall was joined on Thursday's panel by Blythewood Mayor Mike Ross, Cayce Mayor Elise Partin and West Columbia Mayor Pro Tem Tem Miles.