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Emerald Corporate Center
To Get Its Own Sewer Plant

By John Emerson
ROCK HILL — February 29, 2000 -- County officials have decided to avoid a conflict with the Town of Thompson over supplying sewer service for the Emerald Corporate Park and will simply build their own sewer plant to handle waste water from the site.
Apparently, the decision was made earlier this month after negotiations between the county and the town broke down over the issue of rates for the new corporate center in Rock Hill. County officials thought the overall cost of hooking into the town’s Emerald Green Sewer District were too high.
Town officials said they gave the county the best deal they possibly could allow without hurting homeowners, who make up the bulk of the users within the district.
“It’s really kind of a shame,” said Thompson Water and Sewer Superintendent Bill Culligan. “If they had tied in eventually, that would have opened up all of Rock Hill to sewer service. Now they’re going to have to go through the [state Department of Environmental Conservation] permitting process and hire an operator to run their plant.”
County Planning Commissioner Alan Sorenson said the plant would have a capacity to treat 25,000 gallons of sewage a day. He said the plant would be state-of-the-art but nothing out of the ordinary, and that it is the type of facility DEC officials routinely see in their permitting process. He said he anticipated no problems gaining necessary approvals.
Thursday, in a briefing session to the county legislature’s Planning Committee, Sorenson presented an update on where the corporate park stands and what remains to be done before construction can begin. He explained to legislators and others in attendance at the meeting that a road leading into the site has now been cut and that the county was paid $27,000 for the logs removed when the road was roughed in. He also said that one well has been drilled, and a second could be drilled within the next few weeks.
“I believe that we’ll be fully under construction in May or June,” he said. “I think that is a realistic timetable to look at.”
The county must still go to the Thompson Town Planning Board for site plan approval before real construction can begin on the corporate park.
Sorenson said he plans to submit preliminary plans to the Planning Board in March and hopes to have those plans approved by April. He also said that a conceptual layout of the entire corporate park would be included for approval so that potential tenants, if they wished, could have shovel-ready sites with all necessary approvals available for development.
The town took over the operation of the sewer plant and water system in Emerald Green several years ago when the developer, Michael Chung, walked away from the project, leaving no one to operate the sewer and water systems. The sewer system was in bad repair, and the DEC immediately moved in and ordered changes and improvements, including a requirement that the town build a new plant.
At the time, Frontier Insurance was expanding their operations and moving the company headquarters to Rock Hill, so the district was expanded to supply service to the new building. Currently the plant, which has a capacity to treat 410,000 gallons of sewage a day, operates at about half of its capacity.
Emerald Green residents pay among the highest sewer fees in the town based on the town’s point system that establishes sewer rates for each district. This year, residents will pay $544 per house for the service, which includes operating and maintenance charges, in addition to the fees involved with paying off the capital costs of constructing the new plant.

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