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Lockhart Council Receives Updates on Broadband, Water and Sewer

Daniel Prince

Feasibility study may lead to bigger role for City of Union in Lockhart's water and sewer

The Lockhart Town Council met Tuesday evening at the Lockhart Town Hall. At the meeting, Mayor Connie Porter updated council members on a couple of meetings she and Town Clerk Shannon Perry had attended. The first was with Development Board Director Dolton Williams and representatives from Charter regarding broadband. Porter said that the company is trying to get a grant to expand broadband throughout the county, into places like Lockhart. She said there was not a lot of concrete information, and more meetings and information would be coming. According to a report from the February Union County Council meeting, Charter is the largest recipient of money from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which has allowed them to expand broadband to nearly 2600 locations in the northern and southern sections of the county. They hoped to have the project complete for those locations by the third quarter of 2023. They are seeking further grants to take in additional households that were not originally part of the build-out plan.

Mayor Porter said she and Perry also attended a meeting with City Administrator Joe Nichols, representatives from Catawba Regional, and Clay Helms with KCI Engineering regarding the feasibility study of Lockhart’s water and sewer. Porter said the meeting focused mostly on wastewater. The city is looking to pursue grant funding to build a package plant on the other side of the bridge in Lockhart for wastewater treatment. They would build new lift stations and operate the wastewater treatment for the town. Porter said that pumping the wastewater back to Union for treatment is not an option because of the swamp areas. Currently, the county owns the property at the bridge, so it would have to be given to the city before the package plant could be built. The town had explored the option of building one years ago, but they were unable to secure a loan to do that. Currently, a company named TESI handles the town’s wastewater, but Mayor Porter said all the equipment is old and maintained only to DHEC’s minimum standards. She noted the study found some bad sewer lines in a wooded area near North 5th and 6th streets that would need to be taken care of. Porter also noted that Catawba Regional seems unwilling to give the town further grant money to fix problems with water and sewer because of the town’s lack of money to keep the system properly maintained. If the city took over water and wastewater, it would own and maintain the lines and equipment. She noted none of this is a done deal, and more meetings and information would be coming on that, as well.

Finally, Mayor Porter informed the council that rather than holding their own school supply giveaway event, the town was making a $75 donation to the Union County Sheriff’s Office to support their giveaway event at Greater Union Church coming up on August 6th. She noted that the town does have 24 backpacks with some supplies in them if children in the town aren’t able to get supplies from that event or from others.
With no other items to discuss or take action on, the meeting adjourned.

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