The water treatment plant is supplied by surface water from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 55,000-acre Lake Hartwell Reservoir, which lies along the border of upstate South Carolina and Georgia. The plant operates 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Its current capacity is 48 million gallons a day (MGD).
Formed in 2000 under Title 6 Chapter 25 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, as amended, there were three (3) founding members of Anderson Regional Joint Water System — Belton-Honea Path Water Authority, Big Creek Water District, and Broadway Water District. These three (3) members added ten new members in April of 2002 and, at the same time, the expanded partnership purchased and began operating Duke Energy’s Lake Hartwell Water Treatment Plant.
The Joint Water System is governed by a 14-member Board of Commissioners. Each member of the Board represents a water district or municipality that purchases its water from the Joint Water System. Currently, there are fifteen (15) member agencies in Anderson and Pickens Counties, and all except Belton-Honea Path Water Authority receive treated water from the Joint Water System. Clemson University also purchases water from the System, but is exempt from membership on the Board because of state statute.
The Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS) has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. It has been built through the hands of many hardworking men and women who also engaged their minds to continually improve the system. Our current success is built on their shoulders and we are very thankful our jobs exist because of what they were able to accomplish.
Anderson Water Supply Company was the first water utility to exist in Anderson, SC and entered into contract with the Anderson City Council in 1889 to install water lines within the city to supply fire protection and drinking water to the citizens. Water was drawn from Whitner Creek and a small treatment station was completed in 1896 within a few hundred yards of the current City of Anderson Water Operations Department located on Tribble Street.
As new legislation passed regarding drinking water, Southern Power Company bought the system in 1913 until being acquired by Duke Power Company in 1927. As Duke began projecting future growth they realized the long-term demand of water for the area was beyond their current capacity, so the Cox Creek Treatment Plant was built in 1938 (at the present site of Colony Woods subdivision) with a pumping station located on Bailey Creek. An additional pumping station was built in 1950 on the Rocky River, and though it is no longer in service, remains can still be seen today from the bridge on Snow Rd as you look north up the river.
By 1960, Anderson’s need for water was quickly approaching Cox Creek Treatment Plant’s capacity, so Duke hired J.E. Sirrine, Architects and Engineers out of Greenville, SC to design a high capacity water treatment plant on the newly constructed Lake Hartwell. The Lake Hartwell Water Treatment Plant project was completed in 1968 and went online in October 1969. Over the next three decades, Duke Power Company continued to upgrade the plant to increase its treating capacity to 32 million gallons per day.
In 2000, Duke decided to put the Lake Hartwell Water Treatment Plant up for bid so they could focus all their efforts in the energy sector. Over a span of two years, local municipalities and districts pulled together and not only negotiated a deal to buy the plant, but convinced local and state legislation to pass the necessary laws to make their dream possible. This was, and still is, an incredible accomplishment! Thirteen different member agencies, spanning from Powdersville to Starr-Iva, purchased the plant for $63.5 million on April 17, 2002 and created the Anderson Regional Joint Water System.
We are currently a fifteen member agency working together to operate the now 48 million gallon per day water treatment plant as we serve 200,000 customers one of the earth’s most valuable resources.
Regional partners committed to providing safe, quality, affordable water through cooperative environmental stewardship to achieve an enhanced quality of life.
Recognized leader providing sustainable water resources to promote an enhanced quality of life and a growing economy.