In an effort to better enhance customer service and create redundancy to their system, the City of Newberry is in the process of constructing a new 3.5-million-gallon ground water storage tank and pump station.

Located on Airport Road in Newberry, the new tank will help to serve the Kraft-Heinz plant, one of the city’s largest industrial customers. However, the city’s Utility Director Tim Baker said the tank will be beneficial to all water customers in the area.

The new tank will help to alleviate the demands currently placed on the city’s water system. As the industrial plant uses in excess of one million gallons of water per day, Baker said the high instantaneous peak flow could affect the city’s distribution system.

“These large amounts of water flow mean that the College Street water tank is essentially emptied each day,” Baker said. “This requires our booster pumps to run more frequently and may create disruptions in our distribution lines.”

The new water storage tank, Baker said will help the city provide more even, and regulated water flow to customers in the area.

“All of our customers will benefit indirectly,” he said. “This could potentially lower our system ‘s overall pressure and may eliminate the need for some pressure reducing valves at the customers’ box.”

As part of the 3.5-million-gallon tank, 500,000 gallons will be held in emergency storage. Baker said this storage could be used for anything deemed an emergency to include a fire or drought.

“There will be mixers in the tank to maintain proper water quality and prevent thermal and chemical stratification,” Baker said.

While the cost of the project comes just above $2.5 million, the city received a $500,000 grant from the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (SCRIA) and will soon receive an additional one million dollar grant from Santee Cooper.

Baker said the plans for the tank was something initially thought of when the city issued the 2015 construction bonds, which is where the remainder of the funding for the project will come from.

Site work for the project began in November 2018 and the tank is expected to be operational this summer.

“This new tank will allow the city to be more prepared to serve additional industrial customers moving forward,” said City Manager Matt DeWitt. “It will provide a benefit to the overall system. This is a win-win I think that all citizens can be proud of.”