Chad Lawson, Director of Communications at Renewable Water Resources

    Clean water and a thriving natural environment are two of the primary hallmarks of any successful community. Ensuring that these needs are not compromised during periods of rapid growth requires not just vision and discipline but careful, coordinated planning and precise execution.

    All of us at ReWa understand that we play a critical role as both an environmental steward and a driver of economic development and growth. One of ReWa’s and, in fact, Greenville’s most ambitious and significant infrastructure projects, DIG Greenville, is an excellent example of how strategic planning and innovation meet to deliver great results.

    As part of its ongoing efforts to employ cutting-edge technology to keep Greenville poised for what comes next, ReWa began construction on this multi-year wastewater conveyance tunnel project in 2018. This project aims to safely and efficiently revitalize our wastewater infrastructure in the growing Greenville community for the next 100 years.

    Administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s State Revolving Fund Section and partially funded through the United States Environmental Protection Agency, DIG Greenville will alleviate the risk of overflows in Greenville’s wastewater collection system during peak events. It will also provide additional storage and capacity during wet weather to ensure future projected capacity needs. Evidenced by the numerous cranes and construction you see in Greenville, we are growing at an unprecedented pace. Without this critical project, capacity, or the availability in the pipes to add additional wastewater flows, would be minimal, limiting growth opportunities in our community.

    As part of our stewardship efforts, we sought a solution for growing capacity needs that would minimize disruption to the area and its residents and provide the best long-term solution, so the idea for the tunnel was born. With digging recently completed , DIG Greenville’s tunnel is approximately 11 feet in diameter and nearly 6,000 feet long and will house a 7-foot diameter fiberglass reinforced carrier pipe. Wastewater will enter the diversion structure and drop shaft at Riley Street (near the Kroc Center) and flow underground to the downstream ending in Cleveland Park, where the new tunnel will connect with the existing system.

    As the excavation phase concludes, work will shift to installing and connecting the pipe inside the tunnel, followed by restoring and landscaping both tunnel construction sites. The project is on track to be completed in May of 2021.

    Here are some key statistics on ReWa, the project, and its impact:

    • Each day ReWa cleans and returns more than 40 million gallons of water to area waterways.
    • We operate nine water resource recovery facilities (WRRF) and more than 352 miles of pipe, and are responsible for wastewater treatment and collection services for a broad geographic area, including Greenville County and portions of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens, and Spartanburg Counties.
    • ReWa has worked closely with various governmental and economic development entities on this project, even partnering with the Greenville Zoo to ensure the safety and well-being of any animals who might have been impacted by early blasting.
    • In the spirit of complete transparency, we have distributed numerous updates and bulletins to area residents regarding the DIG project and hosted 14 “Sippin’ with Steve” public events to inform and update the public at every step of the process.
    • The massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) used to dig under the city journeyed from Cleveland Park and will surface at the prepared site on Westfield Street near the Kroc Center. On its way, this huge and incredibly powerful machine bored through solid granite and crossed underneath the Reedy River twice.
    • The tunnel boring machine began mining under the city in January 2020 and completed its work within the last few weeks.
    • The total tunnel footage is 5,928 feet with a maximum depth of 120 feet, and the machine has operated at a production rate – 6.6 feet/hour (31.2 feet/day) and excavated more than 20,000 cubic yards of rock, which ReWa will use on future construction projects.
    • The project is expected to be completed on-budget with no cost overruns.

    While it’s not typically considered glamorous, having the necessary supporting infrastructure in place is the most critical factor in our area’s ability to support its incredible rate of growth. DIG Greenville has been embraced and celebrated by community groups, environmental organizations, economic development agencies, and government leaders alike and is evidence of ReWa’s commitment to meeting the needs of our community head-on and envisioning and driving a better for future us all. Simply put, we live here, too, and we will always do what is in the best interest of Greenville and the Upstate.

    We look forward to sharing more exciting news on DIG Greenville soon. Please visit for updates and additional information.