Proposal would begin consolidating sewer districts under ReWa

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Greenville County Council may combine two major public utilities, impacting tens of thousands of customers.

Councilman Dan Tripp and Council Chair Butch Kirven are proposing an ordinance that would combine MetroConnects, which is one of the county’s largest sewer districts, with ReWa, which treats wastewater. The ordinace also calls for a plan to consolidate other special purpose sewer districts.

“It’s a timely discussion to have,” Kirven said. “We’ve been doing things for sewer in Greenville County about the same way for 50,60 maybe longer, years.”

Kirven said he thinks the move could lower bills by making the process more efficient and allowing ReWa to borrow more money to expand and improve infrastructure.

“It’s going to take a lot of money to fix up sewer in Greenville County,” Kirven said.

Several officials from local sewer districts spoke against the proposal at a County Council meeting Tuesday, saying they feel ReWa wouldn’t be as responsive to the people their sewer districts currently serve.

“It takes away the community’s right for speech,” said Samantha Bartow-Babb, who is the director of sewer services with the Taylors Fire and Sewer District. “You have your community that can call you.”

Carol Elliott with MetroConnects says the utility is very efficient as it is now.

“I would say that we probably have the least number of employees per hundred miles of any sewer agency in the state if not the southeast,” Elliott said.

A first reading went before Greenville County Council on Tuesday. No action was taken. Kirven said he wants to refer the proposed ordinance to the public works committee for further study.

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