The Chester Metropolitan District is a Special Purpose District created by the South Carolina Legislature in 1959 and serves as the primary public water supplier in Chester County. CMD serves residents and businesses along SC Highway 9, SC Route 99, the US-21 Corridor, and in the municipalities of Fort Lawn, Great Falls, Richburg, and Chester.
HISTORY OF THE SYSTEM
Built starting in the 1890’s, the original water system was owned by the City of Chester for the purpose of serving the Gayle Mill Village. It began as a groundwater treatment system with a well pump located near the City Pool on West End Street. A wood-plank water tank was erected near the pump and this system and water was transmitted by way of cast iron pipes to the West End neighborhood and the budding mill villages.
In the early 1920’s, a surface water filtration plant was constructed on Highway 9 West, which allowed the system to expand. It was served by an impoundment reservoir known as the City Pond. New water lines were added, made not only of cast iron, but also of concrete, asbestos, and galvanized steel. The Loomis Street Water Tank was constructed shortly after the new plant went into service, and in the late 1930’s, the wood-plank water tank on West End was replaced with a steel tank, which still stands on the hill high above the City of Chester today.
The system continued to grow until the late 1950’s, when the City Pond was in danger of running dry. Desperate for a solution to the impending water shortage, the City of Chester began looking at new service options. From this crisis, the Chester Metropolitan District was born.
CREATION OF THE CMD
In 1959, legislation was passed to enable the creation of a Special Purpose District known as Chester Metropolitan District. The District was created for the specific purpose of securing funding to build a fully-functional Water Treatment facility in one of the two river basins in Chester – the Broad River Basin to the south, or the Catawba River Basin to the north.
The Catawba River was a guaranteed reliable source, and the decision to locate in Fort Lawn allowed CMD to open up public water service to the whole county. Once the location was decided, the work to build a new water treatment facility began.
In 1963, Chester Metropolitan District, in an effort to secure funding for the construction of the new plant, purchased the water system from the City of Chester for $410,000.00. The District also purchased the water system from the Town of Great Falls, which included the Bechamville Water Tank built in the 1930’s, for an additional $210,460.00.
In 1964, construction of the Robert W. Hemphill Water Filtration Plant began. A 30” transmission main was installed along SC Highway 9, tapering to a 24” main as it came through Richburg. Two one-million gallon standpipes were erected in Rodman to provide adequate pressure for CMD to serve the City of Chester.
New construction began again. Maintenance crews began replacing old, broken, and unsafe lines with ductile iron pipe and, in the last thirty years, PVC pipe.
In the late 1970’s, renovations began to the City of Chester’s roads and sidewalks. During that time, CMD replaced the majority of the water lines in the area.
In 1984, a water tank was installed near the York Road Industrial Park to provide better pressure to the industrial park businesses and the residents in the area. Construction was completed in December 1984 at a cost of $520,000, paid by a federal grant with 20% match split by the City of Chester and Chester Metropolitan District.
In 2001, CMD received a substantial grant which allowed for the replacement of nearly the entire water system in the Town of Great Falls and the construction of the 750,000 gallon Richburg Water Tank.
Since purchasing the antiquated systems, CMD has rehabilitated over 65% of the old lines as well as extended service to areas once unable to enjoy the benefits of public water.
Today, Chester Metropolitan District produces an average of 4.2 million gallons of treated drinking water per day from its single Water Treatment Plant on the Catawba River. The District owns and operates seven storage tanks and serves approximately 6,500 customers throughout Chester County.
Every day we strive to provide superior, award-winning water quality and reliable service. Our rehabilitation and expansion efforts will continue as our system ages and expands, but one thing will always remain the same: our customers are our primary focus.