MetroConnects and Clean Water Forward: Protecting the Source
This year’s Source Water Protection Week, celebrated from Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, is especially exciting here at MetroConnects as it coincides with the launch of our new Clean Water Forward imitative! Clean Water Forward is an initiative designed to provide wastewater collection services to Greenville County that do just the type of source water protection that the American Water Works Association promotes for Source Water Protection. Clean Water Forward is about maintaining and improving our quality of life, protecting our community’s public health, protecting the environment, and most importantly, protecting our water.
Clean Water Projects
Part of the Clean Water Forward initiative involves reducing the impacts of wet weather events in Greenville County. When we have heavy rains, older, deteriorating sewer pipes suffer from what is called Inflow & Infiltration (I&I).
I&I refers to excess stormwater that enters into the sewer system through cracks, leaky seals, and faulty or illegal sewer connections. The extra sewer water makes its way down to the Renewable Water Resources’ (ReWa) wastewater treatment facilities, which puts extra (read: expensive) pressure on their systems. Worse, it can overwhelm the pipes that carry wastewater, eventually forcing the contaminated water out of manholes in what is called a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO). These overflows spill sewage into the community, which can make its way to open water sources through storm drains and smaller creeks and rivers.
Mills Village Rehabilitation
While MetroConnects is performing preventative maintenance throughout the entire county to minimize I&I and prevent SSOs throughout the county, some of our biggest projects that are part of the Clean Water Forward initiative are taking place in Greenville’s Mill Villages. These historic communities house some of the oldest sewer systems in the state, and in many cases, the original, hundred-year-old pipes are still in use! While this says something about the high level of workmanship put into these communities in the late 19th century, it is time for these pipes to be rehabilitated and replaced. MetroConnects was recently awarded more than $20 million in grants to begin this work, especially in the Dunean and Mills Mill Village areas. Additional funds were granted for work in the Union Bleachery Village as well. MetroConnects is excited to get started with this important work and take crucial steps toward Protecting the Source!