$100 million wastewater treatment plant expected to boost economic development in Pee Dee

The City of Florence held a dedication ceremony Tuesday morning for its new $100 million wastewater management facility on Stockade Drive.

It's built on the grounds of the old wastewater treatment plant that officials say was aging and failing.

Officials say the new facility was part of a comprehensive improvement program to address the wastewater system capacity and treatment needs of the city.

"The city's growth in wastewater treatment plant is to really try to create the concept of the Greenville-Spartanburg dynamic. And we want to see that as part of I-95. You've heard Congressman Clyburn speak to that. We want to create in the Pee Dee a wastewater treatment process, economic development opportunities, attract new industries. And excess capacity associated with wastewater treatment is fundamental to that effort," said Florence City Manager Drew Griffin.

The plant increases the treatment capacity from 15 million gallons (MGD) per day to 22 MGD.

"This plant is in a position to provide wastewater treatment to the capacity so that we can recruit industry so that we can improve the condition of our neighbors as we are with Timmonsville system," said Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela.

City leaders praise former Florence Mayor Frank Willis.

"It is a part of a dream come true or a vision come true. We saw the need. Been very active in economic development for a long time. We realized that Florence can't grow in a vacuum. We need the other counties and the other part of this region to support us financially. People come here and shop, so that was a part of the vision that we saw. If we want to keep Florence viable, the areas around us had to be viable. So we made a committment 15 years ago," explained former Florence Mayor Frank Willis.

The new wastewater treatment facility is designed with the goals of energy efficiency and beneficial use of wastewater sources.

Officials say its reliable process of wastewater meets local, state, and federal water quality standards.