By Kathryn Casey, Island Eye News Staff Writer
This month marks the six month anniversary of the opening of the new Forest Trails Wastewater Treatment Facility on the Isle of Palms. After retiring and demolishing the old plant, that was built in 1966, the new plant has been fully operational since November of 2014, and will throw will open its doors May 29 for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.
In 2008, the IOP Water and Sewer Commission began looking to replace the old plant, because it was too difficult to keep up to code, and extremely costly to do so as well. After visiting plants in South Carolina and Georgia, the Commission decided to build a Kabota flat plate membrane system plant where the old plant was, on the corner of 41st Ave. and Waterway Blvd. Construction began on the first phase of the new facility in October 2013 and was finished by Thanksgiving of 2014. The total cost of the system, including engineering, was $7,220,583.
Currently, the plant only treats the water of 770 commercial and private residencies outside of Wild Dunes on the island. That is about one third of the residencies on the island, which means that two thirds use septic tanks.
“Once about every two years the area floods, and when that happens the septic tanks stop working,” William Jenkins, the facility’s special projects administrator, said. Ultimately, the Commission plans on using the site for all wastewater treatment on the island. But, as Chairman Dana Love, says he doubts that will happen soon.
The Commission expects that by 2020 all of the wastewater from Wild Dunes will be treated at this facility.
The Open House and Ribbon Cutting ceremony is May 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend and learn about the plant. The plant’s 13 employees and 8 operators will be in attendance and are willing to answer questions and give tours of the plant to the public.
Videos of how the plant was built will be screened as well as the video of the demolition of the old plant. A dedication plaque will be unveiled.
For more information about the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony please contact the Isle of Palms Water and Sewer Commission at 843.886.6148 or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.