Artist’s impression of the new laboratory and office space at the Lake Swamp Wastewater Treatment Facility in Lake City, SC (photo by GMK Associated Design/Build Division)
Construction of a new laboratory at the Lake Swamp Wastewater Treatment Facility in Lake City, South Carolina, began July 22 with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Cemetery Road facility. The project is the second phase of an effort to install much needed upgrades to the facility.
The city began upgrading the treatment plant in October 2021 with a $10 million plan that includes building two aeration basins and replacing aging equipment.
Now, Lake City has officially kicked off Phase 2 — gutting the existing office building and building an addition to house a bigger and better on-site lab — even as work on Phase 1 continues.
The sewage treatment plant laboratory is designed to carry out tests to ensure that the treated water, which flows into the Lynches River, is environmentally safe and its total suspended solids test ensures that the processing meets state and federal requirements.
Lake City Administrator William Hall told Morning News the cost of Phase 2 is $1.5 million and all plant upgrades are expected to be completed later this year.
Columbia’s GMK Associates Design/Build division oversees the design and construction project.
“I’m glad we’re here for a happy occasion,” Lake City Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. said at the groundbreaking. “We continue to improve our community.”
The city’s commitment, he added, will encourage others to come and invest in Lake City to make the city a better place to live and work.
Installation long overdue for an upgrade
The Lake Swamp Wastewater Treatment Facility was first built in 1981 and was due for a major upgrade, according to Lake City Public Works Manager Ricky Sims.
Additionally, the factory building has not undergone major renovations since it was commissioned four decades ago.
“It’s time to take stock of our lab equipment even though we were meeting all the parameters we had to meet,” he told the Florence Morning News. “We should have as good, if not better, process once this upgrade is complete.”
Eventually it reached the point where South Carolina wouldn’t approve the lab to perform state-required water testing, Hall said, but with major renovations to aeration tanks and equipment. underway, this year has been determined as the ideal time to renovate the construction and upgrade the laboratory.
The wastewater treatment facility serves Lake City, Olanta, Cowart, Scranton and other surrounding communities in the southern part of Florence County, Hall said.
“We will be more efficient and hopefully reduce [residents’] electricity bills,” he added.
Improvements to the Lake City Wastewater Treatment Plant are funded by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control with joint funding from the State and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Funding also comes from a repayable loan from the state’s revolving fund program, third-penny sales tax money, and a construction loan that must be converted into a loan from the U.S. Department of Development. rural.