Columbia County and the city of Harlem are considering merging water and sewer systems
A $7 million agreement to merge Harlem's and Columbia County’s water and sewer systems could be finalized in July.
The deal reflects the rapid development and population growth in and around the city of about 3,500 people.
The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss a proposal in which the county would provide all maintenance and upkeep to Harlem’s water and sewer, including any future expansions.
The city and the county jointly disclosed the merger proposal Friday.
The city had studied “for some time” how to lower water and sewer rates for its customers, Harlem Mayor Roxanne Whitaker said. The city also was considering expanding its wastewater treatment plant. In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Harlem could receive a $7,251,000 loan and a $2,343,000 grant to upgrade the plant and the city’s water distribution system.