SouthWest Water – Benedict College Enviornmental Engineering Partnership

SCWU South East Utilities President, Craig Sorenson, talks with Benedict Senior Enviornmental Engineering Students

Benedict College will graduate its first accredited Environmental Engineering cohort next month, allowing graduates to pursue careers as licensed engineers. The program prepares students for careers in water and wastewater treatment, solid waste management, remediation in polluted sites, and air quality engineering, among other engineering practices.

As part of the Company’s commitment to the communities they serve, and to prepare the future generation of water professionals, South Carolina Water Utilities, Inc., (“SCWU”), a SouthWest Water Company, has partnered with Benedict College’s inaugural Environmental Engineering students to provide a hands-on learning experience in the water and sewer industry.

As a key part of the partnership between Benedict College and SCWU, the 2023 Environmental Engineering cohort has been tasked with designing a conceptual wastewater treatment plant for SCWU along the Lower Saluda River as the Company seeks to retire and consolidate aging treatment facilities, constructing a state-of-the-art facility to serve the area. Regionalization of wastewater treatment plants is sound public policy and a win-win for communities, ratepayers, and the environment.

Employment in the water and wastewater industry is declining and is projected to continue to decline by 7% from 2021-2031. Along with this, only 3.5% of Environmental Engineers are African American. As communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution, it is more important now than ever that these disparities are addressed.

In addition to the benefits of providing a hands-on learning experience for environmental engineering students to design a new water treatment system that consolidates existing and aging infrastructure, South Carolina Water Utilities and Benedict College also believe this partnership could create new greenspace and increase public access to the Saluda River.

The Benedict-SCWU partnership proves that there are mutually beneficial outcomes to address the worker shortage, our environment, and the communities we live in.

SCWU is the largest investor-owned water utility in the Palmetto State, serving approximately 200,000 residents daily. The Company is headquartered in Elgin, South Carolina.

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Founded in 1870, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution with over 1,700 students enrolled in its 26 baccalaureate degree programs and two master’s degree programs. The College is based in Columbia, South Carolina.

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