The two questions I get asked most about are the South Broad Street water and sewer rehabilitation project and the removal of dilapidated and uninhabitable buildings from our city.
For the past several years, the city has been focused on replacing water and sewer lines that have just outlived their ability to provide quality services to our citizens. This work has not been as much an inconvenience as most of the work has been done in neighborhoods and side streets that do not have the extreme amount of traffic that South Broad Street faces every day. It seems that South Broad Street may be our most heavily used road and, therefore, any disruption in the traffic flow becomes a problem.
I hope that you have notice that both water and sewer are being repaired and replaced at the same time. This means that when South Broad Street is repaved by the DOT, that the city will not have to dig the road up to make spot repairs to an aging water or sewer pipe as we have done so many times in the past.
Why is this taking so long? The water and sewer lines are extremely old; and when they were installed, the technology to map these lines, as we currently do, did not exist. This created an issue of locating lines that connect to the South Broad Street main lines. Also, the contractor is having problems getting the old valves to shut off in order to connect the new lines. This is not uncommon with old and outdated water and sewer projects.
One of our priorities on this project is to make these repairs with the least amount of inconvenience to our customers being served by these water and sewer lines.
The main line has been installed and tested, and what remains is installing the connecting lines to the College View neighborhood. When these connections are made, a boil water advisory will be issued by the city because we must test these new lines to determine that they meet DHEC standards for safe drinking water. Additionally, as old connections are turned off and new connections are made, customers may experience temporary changes in water pressure and air coming out of the faucet. If work continues on schedule, we hope to have the water and sewer project completed by the end of July.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation is making sure our contractors resurface the road as this project moves forward.
Some days our contractors are working on new connections and other days they are working on filling and patching the areas already completed. At the end of the project, the city contractors will have all the disturbed areas patched and properly prepared for the DOT to completely pave the road.
I have had several comments on the City’s efforts to remove dilapidated structures from our city. This has been a major emphasis by our council. This summer, the city will remove 25 such structures from our city. Three years ago, the city took out two such structures. Last year, the city took out 19 at the same cost of removing two such buildings the previous year by using our own personnel and renting the equipment to complete the task. By doing the buildings ourselves, we have saved our citizens money and become more efficient.
In the past when tearing down a dilapidated building, the city would put a lien on the property. This year rather than putting a lien on the property, property owners have an option to pay for half of the demolition costs with no lien being put on their property. The city is also willing to allow the property owners to make their payments over a one-year period. This shows that the city is willing to work and partner with our local property owners. The owners I have talked too really like this option to clean up our city.
As always, if you have any questions, please call me, 864-380-5176.
(Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)