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History of Cleveland County Water

In October of 1977 some thirty community leaders gave their consent to the district proposal recommended by the Upper Cleveland Chamber of Commerce’s Water Study Committee. The Upper Cleveland County Chamber supported efforts for a countywide water system which carried a price tag of $23 million. Subsequent meetings were held in the various communities and included Fallston, Lawndale, Polkville, Casar, Belwood and Double Shoals.

Citizens who were interested in public water service obtained the names of registered voters in the area and petitioned the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners to create a Sanitary District. The Board of Elections certified the names, and the County Commissioners approved the creation of the District. Subsequently, the Commission for Health Services of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources created the Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District on August 6, 1980. The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners appointed the first five Commissioners to the Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District Board until the first election was held in 1983. Once established by the State of North Carolina, the Sanitary District became an independent unit of local government with the right to levy taxes.

In 1981 citizens in the Upper Cleveland County district, by an overwhelming majority, approved a General Obligation Bond referendum for up to $5 million in bonds for the repayment of a Farmer’s Home Administration loan. The water system was dedicated on October 28, 1984 in a ceremony sponsored by The Upper Cleveland Chamber of Commerce with Congressman Jim Broyhill offering the dedication address. The system began with approximately 240 miles of water line, 1200 customers and 6 employees (3 full-time and 3 part-time). Even before the dedication of the water system, Phase II plans were already underway for expansion west towards Lattimore and Mooresboro and South of Highway 74 extending nearly to Boiling Springs as well as to the East side of the County towards the areas of Waco, Mary’s Grove Community, Light Oak Community and within 500 feet of Moss Lake on the lake’s North shore. The District was expanded to include the Phase II areas on May 3, 1985 by Commission for Health Services of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources. In 1986 another $5.5 million in General Obligation Bonds were approved for expansion of the system and in 1987 Phase II began. This expansion would more than double the number of existing customers and included 160 miles of water lines and approximately 2500 customers.

Piedmont Metropolitan District was formed in the same manner as the Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District on May 5, 1988 and was intended to serve as a public water system in the southern end of Cleveland County around the Towns of Patterson Springs and Earl. In 1989 Piedmont Metropolitan Water merged with Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District due to the fact that Piedmont had not been able to secure a public water source. As a result of the merger, Upper Cleveland County Sanitary District became Cleveland County Sanitary District and gained two additional Commissioners to become a Board with a total of seven members.

Phase III expansion of the Cleveland County Sanitary District was approved with a District extension on March 7, 1990. This area included a southwestern portion of Cleveland County surrounding, but not including, the Town of Boiling Springs down to and following the Broad River. A $9 million bond referendum was approved in 1991 to expand into areas not already served and to complete loops in the current system. This phase took approximately 4 years to complete and expanded the district to approximately 5900 customers in 1991 with 400 plus miles of water lines, 10 employees and the District was treating between 700,000 and 1,200,000 gallons of water per day.

The most recent District extension occurred on November 8, 2017 and included a small area southeast of the Zion Community and north of the City of Shelby corporate limits to include residents who desired to be within the District.

A few highlights of the District growth, expansion and service to Cleveland County are included as follows:

  1. 1983 – Completion of a 3 MGD water treatment plant and intake.
  2. 1988 – Expansion of the water treatment plant to 4 MGD.
  3. 1992 – A new administration building was built. The office had previously been a mobile home located just above the water treatment plant.
  4. 1993 – Expansion of the water treatment plant to 6 MGD.
  5. 2000 – Completion of a new raw water intake at a cost of $1.6 million. The new intake was relocated to the confluence of Knob Creek and First Broad River capable of withdrawing 10 MGD.
  6. 2001 – Expansion of the Administration Building to include 1800 square feet.
  7. 2008 – Name changed from Cleveland County Sanitary District to Cleveland County Water.
  8. 2011 – Construction was completed on a new 55 MGD raw water holding pond.
  9. 2015 – Construction was completed on two additional sedimentation basins to increase the water treatment plant capacity to 8 MGD.
  10. 2016 – Approximately 70 acres of land was purchased in southern Cleveland County along the Broad River for construction of an additional water treatment plant for future water supply and growth.
  11. 2017 – Approximately 17.5 acres was purchased along NC Highway 226 (Polkville Road) just north of the old Dover Mill Village for construction of a future centrally located Cleveland County Water Operations Center.

Today, Cleveland County Water serves a population of approximately 51,000 and includesover 20,000 active accounts, 39 employees and approximately 1950 miles of water line based on the 2017 Local Water Supply Plan.

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