LATTA, SC (WBTW) – Communities across South Carolina are set to receive millions in infrastructure grants aimed at fixing water and sewer problems.
“I think the future is bright for Latta,” declared Town Administrator Jarett Taylor. “It’s just gonna take a little bit of time.”
Taylor, now in his fourth year on the job, knows the town’s original water and sewer system still needs upgrades.
Back in 2015, a News13 investigation uncovered high levels of iron in some homes because of corroding pipes beneath the streets. Now Taylor said the town of Latta continues to seek grant money to replace the aging system.
“What we’re doing a lot more, is we’re flushing lines,” explained Taylor. “I think flushing the lines has increased the quality.”
While several residents in Latta declined to speak on camera, one family said they continue to have brownish water come through the pipes on occasion, but that the problem has vastly improved.
Taylor said the town hopes to use grants like the one from the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) to make big improvements to the water and sewer system, starting with upgrades to automated utility meters.
“What we’re gonna do is put it on a computerized system that doesn’t have to be checked manually,” Taylor said, adding that more accurate results will save taxpayers and the town government money.
Phase two, a comprehensive sewer study, is something the town hasn’t done since the 70s.
“We’ll figure out which parts of our sewer system are most challenged and most troubling,” Taylor explained.
The town is also studying replacing one of its water tanks to increase the capacity at the same time it works to upgrade pipes.
While the latest grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority is only $131,000, Taylor said the town is applying for more than $9 million in state R&D grants and federal Community Development Block Grants to complete the work.
“We know we’ve got some grant money on the horizon that is a fairly significant amount that we’re shooting for,” voiced Taylor.
Money from the current grant should be available to Latta town officials as early as this week.