“This has been a long time coming,” Spencer said, and then talked about the district’s transition from a small to a medium-sized water district. “We’re here today, not just to celebrate the construction of this new tank, because we’ve got several other projects … basically raising the service level of this water district. There’s an enormous amount of people who’ve been involved in these projects.” One of the other projects includes four miles of a 12-inch water main from S.C. 81 to Shackleburg Road.
The water district currently has three elevated water tanks and two ground storage tanks. The new water tank will be the largest one, and will also have the highest elevation of all of the district’s water tanks. Spencer described the project as the “largest construction effort in our 38 years of Powdersville Water District history.” Officials project that the $1.8 million project should be completed within a year.
The 1-million-gallon water tank, located behind the former Johnny’s Pontiac Buick GMC, is near several other areas that will soon witness additional growth.
Tri-County Technical College will be building a new campus on Powdersville Road, Anderson School District One will be building Powdersville High School on Hood Road off S.C. 153, and Palmetto Health Baptist Easley plans to build an 88,000-square-foot facility on S.C. 153, where the hospital currently owns about 45 acres.
Powdersville Water District Chairman Norb Steeber said, “It is simply not just a 1 million gallon water tank: it is a controlled water distribution system which assures adequate quality water for all purposes, including improved ISO fire ratings.”
Steeber said the water tank will help the local community during tough economic times.
“We all know that the residential market is off, but this tank and the other investments being acknowledged here today will support the other construction activities that are currently underway in the area,” Steeber said, mentioning the new Tri-County Tech campus, the new Powdersville High School, additions to Concrete Primary School, an expansion to Marathon Community Church, a new medical building on Powdersville Main, a new building for Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, and an expansion of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.
“Those are all major expansions currently underway here,” Steeber said. “We may be in a recession for residential, but we’re not in a recession for construction.”
The water tower will serve as a major landmark in the future, Steeber said.
“Let this water tower serve as a landmark, or rather a guidepost, for those venturing into the foothills of Pickens County. When you see the Powdersville Water Tower, you are headed in the right direction,” Steeber said.
“The theme of the day is building a firm foundation,” Spencer said. “And that (allows) us to try to build a system in such a way that we have something that we can grow on for many years to come. And when I say many, this is a 25- or 30-year vision that we’re talking about.”
“It is a tremendous asset to Anderson and Pickens counties,” said Pickens County Sen. Larry Martin, who said he frequently receives calls from people with wells who desperately need water. “We’ve seen how water is such a resource, and this water district serving one of the fastest growing areas in Upstate South Carolina will be a big, big thing for development and the type of infrastructure that’s necessary.”
“You can’t have quality of life without water,” said Anderson Sen. Kevin Bryant. “I just thought of when the Lord met the woman at the well, and compared Himself to living water. So we appreciate the vision of the Powdersville Water District and the Board of Directors.”
Pickens County state Rep. Rex Rice said, “What does Powdersville Water District mean to me? They’re not just a water district, they’re a partner.”
Anderson County state Rep. Dan Cooper said, “I’ve always been excited about helping get water lines wherever we can move them within the community. It’s just something we need to do for growth and for people who need that water service.” Cooper added that the water tank is needed to improve economic development in the community.
In an interview after the groundbreaking, Easley Fire Department Chief Butch Womack said he was excited about the project, adding that the tank will provide much higher water pressure.
Marathon Pastor Eddie Cox gave the invocation, acknowledging that the water tower will “affect not only us, but our children’s children.”
The water district serves more than 11,000 taps, and about 30 percent of its customers are in Pickens County.