The new $4.2 million Silver Bluff water-treatment plant is close to being fully operational.


The plant, adjacent to the Village at Woodside, broke ground in January, after City Council accepted a bid for the project at about $3.6 million from Harper Corp. of Greenville.


The facility, which will be mostly unmanned, will have a small, Colonial-style brick building in front to mesh with the surrounding neighborhoods. A tank, half submerged, sits behind the building, holding 750,000 gallons of water. The property also will hold two wells, including one at Fire Station Four next door.


“The maximum the plant will dispense is about 3 million gallons a day, but that’s running it to its max,” said James Bryant, the supervisor of the City of Aiken’s water-treatment plants. “We will probably run it at least 2 million gallons per day for now.”


Bryant said the new plant and tank system will help the City of Aiken, especially on days people pull out their sprinkler systems.


“Usually on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, people are using their sprinkler systems, which then makes the water pressure drop pretty bad,” Bryant said. “We got to a point where, because of that pressure, we had to produce more water.”


The main difference between this treatment plant and others around Aiken is the absence of a chlorine treatment.


“The others use liquid gas chlorine, and we’re just reducing the chlorine with salt,” Bryant said. “It makes it safer because it eliminates the risk from having a chlorine leak.”


The City’s assistant engineer, Pearce Atkins, said the production of this type of chlorine will be generated by the City of Aiken.


“This type of stuff usually has a short shelf life, and a lot of places get it trucked in,” Atkins said. “We are producing it on site, which means it will be a lot fresher. It’s what municipalities all over are starting to do.”


The City plans to have the water-treatment plant running by early 2015, but Bryant said the plant could be ready to run by November or December.


“We will be glad when it goes in service, especially next summer,” Bryant said. “We get hit hardest in the summer and with droughts. We’re just glad to get it up and running.”


Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree with the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.