Columbia County officials are hoping to foster economic development at the Harlem Interstate 20 interchange by adding sewer service.
The commission likely will approve a $2 million project at Tuesday’s meeting.
“They spotted that area a long time ago, wanting to get infrastructure that would make it applicable to some economic development,” Water Utility Director Billy Clayton said.
“(Commercial development is) the highest and best use. It’s never really going to develop until you have sanitary sewer.”
Larry Prather, the owner of Prather Construction Co. of Harlem, owns nearly 600 acres surrounding the interchange. The properties have water, but not sewer service.
Prather said he’s had some interest in the properties, most recently from people wanting to build a water park.
“Without sewage, (potential buyers) are not really interested,” Prather said. “That would allow us to have something that someone would want. People don’t want something without sewage anymore.”
Clayton proposed the project at a May 22 Public Works Committee meeting. It will include gravity-fed sewer lines around the interchange and a pumping station to transfer the waste to the Kiokee Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The sewer will serve the future needs of the entire area, Clayton said.
Developers of those properties will eventually be paying tap fees to connect to the line.
“Sometimes you just have to seed the area to get it to blossom,” Clayton said.