MONCKS CORNER — Sewage pipes from the Camp Hall industrial site in rural Berkeley County will not follow the path of U.S. Highway 176 or Jedburg Road, helping to preserve the rural lifestyle Lebanon residents are striving to protect.
County Council voted Monday to run the sewer lines from Camp Hall along Interstate 26 to the Central Berkeley plant on Gaillard Road in Moncks Corner, a move that pleased residents of the Lebanon community, who packed Council chambers but did not speak during the meeting. Where sewer lines go, development often follows.
Wastewater from Volvo’s $500 manufacturing site at Camp Hall will be routed to the Lower Berkeley Wastewater Treatment Plant on Redbank Road, but sewer service for the surrounding development at Camp Hall, such as the Swedish automaker’s suppliers and unrelated manufacturing, was in question.
Asked earlier this month to decide the route for the sewer line, Council’s Water and Sanitation Committee considered alternatives that included Hwy. 176 and Jedburg Road before asking for more information ahead of Monday’s vote.
A 2013 development agreement, designed to protect the bucolic Lebanon community and approved by the county, called for the lines to run down U.S. Interstate 26 to the Lower Berkeley treatment plant.
But Lebanon resident Lynn Hoover, a long-time member of the county Planning Commission, said recently she wasn’t as concerned about which treatment plant was chosen as she was the route the pipes will take to get there. She favored the I-26 route.
“I’m just happy that we were able to actually keep our promises that we made to the community through the planned development agreement,” said Councilman Caldwell Pinckney, who represents the community.
After the issue was discussed on July 11, Pinckney received lots of phone calls from constituents – “and rightly so,” he said.
“Sometimes when it comes to the political process, we become too politically motivated and forget about the people we were elected to serve,” he said.
Councilman Josh Whitley called the decision “an extremely important vote on several levels.”
“In a time where there is much focus on progress and growth, we never need to lose sight of taking care of the people who already live and work here,” he said. “I am personally proud that we kept our word.”
The decision to use a different plant is minor, he said.
The Lower Berkeley treatment plant is near its capacity of 22.5 million gallons per day, while the Central Berkeley facility is at about 50 percent capacity, although it is smaller, handling 3 million gallons per day. Running sewer lines to Central Berkeley will cost about $11 million to $15 million — $10 million less than running them to Lower Berkeley.
“The end point of the sewer does not drive the development,” Whitley said. “Rather, it’s the ability of a landowner to tap into a line...”
“The intent of the agreement is to prevent development by not locating sewer lines where there are none already, so changing the plant is a minor amendment because the intent of the agreement is not violated,” he said.
The committee’s vote was reaffirmed at the Council meeting that followed.