DARLINGTON, S.C. (WBTW) — Sewage and infrastructure have been a huge topic of discussion in the south side of Darlington for years, and the city has been working to replace pipes that are more than 30 years old.

At a news conference on Tuesday, city council members thanked state Sen. Gerald Malloy for his role in getting the city $300,000 that was needed to complete the $1.8 million South Darlington pump station renovations project.

The project will increase sewer capacity for residential and businesses as well as support a new elementary school built in the neighborhood. The project also serves the city’s industries, multi-national Georgia Pacific and historic Darlington Veneer.

“Citizens having sewage backing up in their houses and in the streets, this has been going on for umpteen of years, and this project should’ve been done 30 years ago.” Councilwoman Shelia Baccus said.

With the sewage problem not set to be taken care of, Baccus said officials to need to focus on other infrastructure problems like ditches throughout the area.

According to infrastructurereportcard.org, South Carolina Civil Engineers gave the state a D+ grade for infrastructure. The report analyzed eight categories of infrastructure pertinent to South Carolina: aviation (D+), bridges (C), dams (D), drinking water (D+), ports (B), roads (D), transit (D+) and wastewater (D).

“You can’t build without having adequate infrastructure, and so if we have an area in town that doesn’t have the infrastructure that another area of town does, then it’s problematic for all of us,” Malloy said.

City officials say the $1.8 million project will upgrade four pump stations, including the city’s two main ones, and upgrade a force main in South Darlington on the east side of Main Street from US 52 BUS/US 52 Bypass to the City’s main treatment plant. That’s 6,500 feet of force main sewer and upgrades to the electrical and control units.

The work includes a total rehabilitation of those pump stations, referred to as Alltel, Grove Hill, the Old Treatment Plant, and Joe Louis Boulevard, and brings the city in compliance with state Deaprtment of Health and Environmental Control standards.

“As soon as we are through here, this will allow for a lot more development in this area,” Charles Shugart, the water and sewer superintendent, said. “This is one of the last places where the city of Darlington can grow. So, now it will have the capability to grow.”

The project is scheduled to be complete in May.