Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina Water Utilities, Inc. (“SCWU”), recently partnered with Benedict College’s newly accredited environmental engineering program to offer graduating seniors a hands-on approach to real-world application of environmental engineering and wastewater management concepts.
SCWU shared its concept with Benedict College Professor of Practice, Dr. Lesley Joseph, to develop the class's environmental engineering senior design project: a new regional wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) that would eliminate smaller and less efficient wastewater treatment facilities on the lower Saluda River, improve water quality in the river, provide additional green space and river access for the City of Columbia, and retain high flows that cause problems at the City’s wastewater facility.
As the City becomes more densely populated, wastewater capacity and infrastructure improvements will become necessary to serve the growing area.
“Actual facility consolidation can provide numerous benefits to the environment and customers. That’s why public policy supports a regional model for utilities. Now, with three wastewater facilities within 1.5 miles of each other on the banks of the lower Saluda River, we’re holding an opportunity to take this exact step and benefit multiple groups of stakeholders,” said SCWU President Craig Sorensen. “This project can help support economic development in the area and improve water quality in the river while providing additional greenspace along its banks. What a great project for graduating seniors to work on!”
The innovative regionalization project the Benedict engineering students considered would allow SCWU to combine the three WWTFs into a single, new state-of-the-art, and modernized facility that can help the city and county achieve their growth plans, while simultaneously adhering to stricter effluent limits and higher water quality standards for discharges into the lower Saluda River.
“We’re hoping that with each opportunity we get to show these different partners there is a program that is right around the corner that is producing high-quality African American Environmental Engineers,” said Dr. Joseph. “That will be launched out into the world doing great work, all across the state and all across the country, all across the world.”
SCWU looks forward to continuing this partnership and commends the first environmental engineering cohort at Benedict College for their hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA WATER UTILITIES, INC.
South Carolina Water Utilities, Inc. is headquartered in Elgin, South Carolina, and is the largest investor-owned water utility in South Carolina, serving approximately 50,0000 customers across the State.
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