Laurens County, South Carolina – Details ahead of a small real estate transfer is all that is still needed before the Laurens Commission of Public Works and Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission can finalize their long-negotiated raw water purchase contract.
The two utilities have been working since late last year to prepare a new contract acceptable to commissioners of both utility providers. The former raw water treatment contract had been set in 1981, and the 40-year agreement expired the end of last year.
For all those decades, CPW had been purchasing raw water from Lake Rabon, which is owned by LCWSC, and treating it at its own water treatment facility for its City of Laurens customers.
Meanwhile, LCWSC paid the CPW to treat its Lake Rabon raw water so it could provide water to its many customers throughout Laurens County. It also purchased treated water from City of Clinton, which obtained its water from the Enoree River.
That all changed when LCWSC built its new pump station at Lake Greenwood and its water treatment plant in Waterloo, which finally went online last year. Only a small portion of LCWSC customers just outside Clinton still have their water treated and supplied by Clinton.
LCWSC was the primary water treatment customer for both City of Clinton and Laurens CPW, so each of the smaller utilities took a financial hit in their respective water departments when LCWSC’s new county-wide treatment plant opened. Contracts were reworked fairly quickly with the City of Clinton but it’s been a lengthier process with the Laurens CPW. Not only is Lake Rabon the sole repository for CPW’s water, but CPW now will be covering some of the lake maintenance charges which had been covered by LCWSC.
The two utilities have made numerous changes to the new 20-year contract since last fall.
“Financially, I think we’re at a good place now with the contract,” said CPW General Manager John Young. “Now we’re going to work out a trade and give them the water tank we built on Raidar Road and they’ll deed over to us the land where the pump station is located at Lake Rabon.”
Both facilities were built by CPW. The water tank was used to store treated water for LCWSC. Since it’s not in the city limits, it’s no longer needed by CPW.
The pump station at Lake Rabon was built by and has been run and maintained by CPW, but since it’s located on Lake Rabon, it has remained the property of LCWSC.
“John and I agreed to get this worked out,” said Jeff Field, General Manager for LCWSC. “We have a surveyor coming out and so we will probably have it finalized within another 30 days.”
Field said the water tank is part of the discussion as a side agreement.
“We don’t use that ground storage tank but we would like to keep it maintained in case of emergency,” Field said.
LCWSC will continue to operate Lake Rabon which provides water for CPW customers.
Aside from the small section outside Clinton for which the City of Clinton continues to provide treated water, all other LCWSC customers are now supplied with treated water drawn from Lake Greenwood.