Sen. Lindsey Graham requests $18 million for two Aiken County water projects

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Jun. 17—U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has requested $18 million to fund upgrades at two Aiken County water facilities.

Graham announced Monday that he had requested $10 million to fund an Aiken County waste water treatment plant and $8 million for a water treatment plant upgrade for the city of Aiken.

"I believe it is important that elected officials have a say in how taxpayer money is spent and not rely on bureaucrats in Washington to protect South Carolina's interests," Graham said in a news release. "The funding requests for member-directed spending items are public record. Every person will be able to judge for themselves if these are worthwhile requests. I believe these projects meet those requirements and will pay dividends for our state in the years to come."

Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian said the $10 million would go toward further expansion of the Horse Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Killian said the plant serves the high-growth area between Aiken and North Augusta and that the front part of the plant has been upgraded to a 26 million gallon per day capacity.

Killian said the additional funding would go toward updating the back end of the plant to the same capacity.

Graham's request is the second attempt by the county to get money to upgrade the plant. Funding for expanding the plant was included in one version of the state's plan to spend its plutonium settlement funds, but that didn't make it through to compromise plan passed by the House and Senate on June 8.

Killian added if Graham's request doesn't work out, the county will seek funding from the state's American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said the $8 million would go toward the city's construction of a $45 million water treatment plant to replace its current facility that was build in 1954.

He said the new facility would be located across from the existing facility and a combination of city-reserves, funds from a water rate increase and borrowing would fund the facility.

Bedenbaugh also said there was the possibility of getting a state-grant to fund part of the construction.

Ground is expected to be broken about this time next year, and construction would take between a year and a half and two years.

Graham's requests still must be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the full Senate, the House of Representatives, and signed into law by President Joe Biden.