SSOs/ 208 Wastewater Planning
This is a key area of concern as SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflows) have been a problem with serious public health issues in the past few years both in the midlands and all over the state (aging infrastructure and 'Murphy's Law' at play as pumps and sewer lines age and fail or pipes become blocked up). Fortunately we have a much broader midlands constituency from the success of the River Greenways in the last decade in orienting citizens to the values of our midlands rivers. SC DHEC which is responsible for water quality violations is currently sending email alerts whenever SSOs happen, and someone from the Saluda River Chapter should sign up for alerts on the lower Saluda and relay them via the chapter website or other communications tools.
The City of Columbia is making major improvements to their wastewater system per an EPA edict, and others are too, like the NI America group that bought the Alpine Utilities plant just upstream from I26. But, many of the existing dischargers are fighting DHEC on coming offline and piping their wastewater to a regional line to go to the City of Cayce (or to the City of Columbia as both jockey for the business). There will be fights played out at Central Midlands for 208 wastewater plan amendments which they are responsible for per section 208 of the Federal Clean Water Act). Those meetings will probably be as tense as the ones in the early 2000s when Carolina Water Service brought in legal counsel to aggressively and successfully lobby for continuation of service. This major issue will require chapter position statements and testimonies at COG hearings as 208 planning determines who can pump what level of wastewater where. The Congaree Riverkeeper should be supported as this is a major area of involvement for that group and they are likely to be key allies and leaders as issues arise.