Spartanburg Water History

Spartanburg Water is actually two entities operating under one name. We are Spartanburg Water System (a political subdivision of the city of Spartanburg, overseen by The Commission of Public Works of the City of Spartanburg, South Carolina) and Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District (a special purpose district established by the state of South Carolina and overseen by the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District Commission). Spartanburg Water System and Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District share many things: goals, facilities, business offices, employees, a chief operating officer, even elected commissioners. Since both are legal entities established by legislation, their finances must be kept separate, however, the work is so interrelated, we have worked as one organization for many years. To help the public better understand who we are, in 2007 we began using the name Spartanburg Water to represent both entities.

“Where water goes, Spartanburg grows!” may have been a tag line created by former Spartanburg Water General Manager John Andrea, but it still holds true today. 

  • 1887: Spartanburg’s first water works was chartered by the South Carolina Secretary of State as a privately held company, and the original water plant, the Chinquapin Filter Plant, was established at 250 Whitney Road in Spartanburg.  
  • 1898: The privately-owned Chinquapin Filter Plant went into receivership, and in 1899 it was purchased by local businessmen and became the Home Water Supply Company.
  • 1907: The City of Spartanburg purchased the company and the first Commissioners of Public Works were elected in 1908, and in 1910, Samuel A. Bush was appointed the first General Manager of Spartanburg Water Works. 
  • 1925: Construction work began on Reservoir #1 and on a new modern filter plant on the South Pacolet River.
  • 1926: R.B. Simms Filtration Plant and Reservoir #1 began operation with a 6-million-gallon-per-day capacity, serving over 30,000 people.
  • 1929: The Spartanburg Metropolitan District (later the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District) was created by Act 556 of the S.C. General Assembly and was managed by the Commission of Public Works of the City of Spartanburg.
  • 1931: Fairforest and Lawson Fork Wastewater Treatment Plants began operations.
  • 1932: Metropolitan Subdistrict B (the area northwest of the city) was created. The City of Spartanburg was Subdistrict A. 
  • 1940's: The Spartanburg Water Works building was located in downtown Spartanburg. The building is now a private residence. 
  • 1947: H. Taylor Blalock began serving as Commissioner and served until 1959 and then again from 1961-1978. Lake Blalock would later be dedicated to him in honor of his service. 
  • 1950-1953: The Landrum Pumping Station site was donated in memory of J.E. Morgan in 1953, and additions to the Chemical Storage building at the Simms plant began. Capacity at Lawson Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant was expanded to accommodate growth.  
  • 1960: A new dam creating Lake Bowen (Reservoir Number 2) was built to increase the water supply to the Simms Filtration Plant.  
  • 1965: The District acquired ownership of the Camp Croft sewage facilities and the Una Subdistrict was formed, creating Subdistrict C.
  • 1967: Spartanburg Water acquired the Cowpens Water System.  
  • 1970: The Legislative Act 1503 was passed, changing the name of the Spartanburg Metropolitan District to the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District and expanding the boundaries of the District and gave it authority to construct sewer collection mains to serve users directly. It also allowed the District to annex areas by petition or by public necessity to serve areas beyond its initial established boundaries. 
  • 1973: The Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District Commission is established as the governing body of the District. This legislation was later changed by the State Supreme Court, reducing the number of commissioners from eight to seven.
  • 1970's: An expansion of the Fairforest plant was completed, increasing capacity, and the Simms Filtration Plant was also expanded to ensure an adequate water supply for future growth. Wastewater system improvements in Cowpens were completed in April 1971, and additions to the Lawson Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant were completed in 1973, with an expansion project. 
  • 1976: The Commission of Public Works authorized the creation of the H. Taylor Blalock Reservoir (Lake Blalock) to further ensure an abundant supply of water for the future. It was dedicated in memory of H. Taylor Blalock in honor of his 29 years of service as Commissioner.
  • 1987: The system celebrated 100 years of existence and was named an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association, recognizing the significant role the Simms plant played in supplying superior water to Spartanburg and preserving our quality environment. The Simms plant was the only American Water Works Association landmark in South Carolina at that time and is still one of only two such designated places to date. In addition, the John A. Andrea Water Quality Laboratory and Welcome Center was dedicated in honor of his 23 years of service as General Manager.
  • 1991: The Joint Maintenance Facility (also known as Maintenance and Construction) was completed. This building houses the parts and equipment needed to maintain the water distribution system and the sewer collection system.
  • 1999: The Lake Blalock Water Treatment Facility began its operations. 
  • 2002-2007: The Fairforest plant's capacity was increased, consolidating all wastewater treatment and biosolids handling at one location and providing for the eventual elimination of the Lawson Fork plant. 
  • 2004: The Commission authorized the purchase of the Landrum water system.
  • 2008: The City of Spartanburg's sewer system was transferred to the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District.
  • 2010: $30 million in infrastructure improvements to Spartanburg Water’s largest water treatment facilities – R.B. Simms Water Treatment Plant and the Lake Blalock Water Treatment Plant. These improvements were designed to increase operational reliability and flexibility, ensure future regulatory compliance, and to provide sufficient treatment capacity to serve the projected needs of the Spartanburg region for the next half century. 
  • 2013: Blalock Water Treatment Facility is renamed the Myles W. Whitlock Water Treatment Facility in honor of Whitlock's 24 years of service to Spartanburg Water. 
  • 2016: Spartanburg Water honored as Utility of the Future Today, one of 61 utilities worldwide recognized for exceptional performance by a partnership of water sector organizations—the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the WateReuse Association—with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 
  • 2019: Fairforest Wastewater Treatment Facility is renamed the A. Manning Lynch Wastewater Treatment Facility in honor of Lynch’s 28 years of service to the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District.