Small towns with economic challenges often experience technical and financial trouble operating a public water and sewer system. This was the position that the Town of Timmonsville found itself in when officials approached the City of Florence for assistance. Concerned for the quality of life and services in a nearby town, Florence officials agreed to help Timmonsville achieve regulatory compliance, financial stability and restore public confidence in the system.

Before they could finalize an agreement, conditions in Timmonsville became desperate. Federal and state regulatory agencies cited and fined the town multiple times. Drinking water was often found unsafe for consumption, sewage frequently escaped manholes, and fire services were compromised by low pressure in the system. After discussions among the two municipalities and other interested parties, Florence agreed to take total control of Timmonsville’s utility system.

To make the necessary repairs, Florence officials secured several state and federal grants with system revenues providing the rest of the funding. To relieve Timmonsville from the overwhelming financial obligations of unpaid fines, Florence assumed its debt by issuing a revenue bond that Timmonsville will pay back over 40 years.

With funds and a financial plan in place, officials began work to address Timmonsville’s many utility problems. After months of work, the small town’s system is now in total compliance and the public’s confidence in its drinking water has returned. The improvements were completed without an increase to existing utility rates in both communities and with all debt obligations met.

Contact Andrew H. Griffin at or 843.665.3113.