May 19, 2023 (Okatie, SC) – Beaufort County, the Town of Bluffton, and Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority (BJWSA) have received a South Carolina Infrastructure Investment Program (SCIIP) grant to install a new sewer system in Bluffton’s Stoney Creek Watershed, adjacent to the May River.
The need for the project was originally identified by the county, Bluffton and BJWSA as part of the 2011 May River Watershed Action Plan. It will allow septic systems for 150 properties to be decommissioned, removing the risk of contamination of the May River from septic system failures. The existing septic tanks and drain fields will be replaced by a vacuum sewer system that will transport wastewater to a BJSWA treatment plant for treatment and ultimate disposal.
“This project is one more way BJWSA is fulfilling our commitment to being responsible stewards of human health and the environment we all love in the Lowcountry,” said Verna Arnette, general manager for BJWSA. “With the technology this grant will fund, we can connect 150 properties to our centralized wastewater treatment system with less community or environmental disruption than traditional deep sewer collection systems.”
“The Town is very excited to partner with the County and BJWSA on this sewer project, which will hopefully be the first of several phases within the May River watershed to extend and connect citizens to sewer,” stated Stephen Steese, town manager for the Town of Bluffton. “The May River’s health is one of Town Council’s Strategic Plan Focus Areas and sewer projects such as this one is just one way the Town is working to protect the River which contributes so greatly to our community’s quality of life.”
“The May River watershed supports businesses, attracts tourism & recreation, and is the anchor for what Bluffton and the surrounding area is all about,” added Eric Greenway, Beaufort County administrator. “We realize that the May River is an asset to all of the citizens of Beaufort County and should be valued throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina. We are excited to join the Town of Bluffton, Beaufort Jasper Water-Sewer Authority, and now the State of South Carolina in a true team effort to protect this irreplaceable part of our world.”
The project is budgeted at $9,550,000, comprised of $5,925,000 of SCIIP grant funding and $3,625,000 local match. It is expected to be completed in 2026.
BJWSA will update the public on its website at https://bjwsa.org/current-projects/.