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      Commerce awards Darlington $472,160 for sewer upgrades

      The City of Darlington has been awarded another big grant for infrastructure improvements on the south side of town.

      The South Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded the City $472,160 in funds from the latest round of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

      During this round, the CDBG program will fund public improvement projects totaling nearly $13.3 million in 24 local municipalities, representing 12,591 residents across South Carolina.

      "This project will allow us to make upgrades that are long overdue," said City Manager Howard Garland. "We are fortunate to get these funds to make necessary improvements for the residents of southwest Darlington."

      The project will replace 4,700 linear feet of sewer lines along Reid, Allen, Kirven, Hickory, Bacote, and South Main Streets affecting 153 residents and one business. More than 90 percent of those affected are low- and moderate-income persons.

      In addition, 18 manhole covers that have outlived their useful life will be replaced, the walls lined with an epoxy coating, and bottoms replaced with concrete.

      Approximately 85 percent of the sewer distribution system in the City consists of pipes 50 to 75 years old.

      Over the years, gases in the sewer system have deteriorated the walls of these pipes to the point that some are seriously cracked or completely missing.

      The manhole walls are deteriorated similar to the pipe walls, and several manhole bottoms have deteriorated away.

      Where pipes or manhole covers are missing, soils have washed into the sewer system.

      These soils have bridged together and kept the area from caving in and basically have held the shape of the deteriorated piping and manhole bottoms.

      In places where the soils have not bridged together or have washed away completely, cave-ins, back flows, and emergency repairs occur.

      City staff identified the problem through routine inspections, first using acoustic technology, then video of the gravity sewer lines as well as manhole inspections.

      The City will contribute $53,638 to the project, making the total project cost $525,798.

      Garland added that the City will also apply for Phase III funding of the CDBG Village Renaissance Grant for southeast Darlington in the coming months.

      "The success of our business recruitment starts with having strong infrastructure and a good quality of life," said Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. "Through these improvements to public infrastructure, we continue to help 'set the table' for economic development in communities across South Carolina."

      Commerce awards CDBG funds in the fall and the spring of each year. Selected through a statewide competitive process, local governments receiving CDBG funding are required to provide at least a 10 percent match in funding to complete the projects.

      Approximately 69% of the 12,591 citizens that will benefit from the improvements in this grant round are considered in low- to moderate-income residents.

      Grant funds are allocated on an annual basis to South Carolina from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Commerce administers the CDBG program on the state's behalf.

      CDBG assists communities in providing housing, a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities.

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