SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Sullivan’s Island leaders are celebrating the island’s newly-constructed wastewater treatment plant, replacing a previous facility built in 1968.

The $25 million treatment plant is better equipped to treat wastewater on Sullivan’s Island and is built to withstand strengthening hurricanes. Officials say this was a needed upgrade.

“We’re celebrating the long haul,” says Bachman Smith, Sullivan’s Island Town Councilman. “It’s a huge upgrade.”

“These tanks and piping and structure are now resilient,” says Greg Gress, Manager of the Towns Water and Sewer Department. “They’ve got hurricane straps in them and they’re floodproof, they’re all elevated.”

The plant will now treat wastewater with a tablet system instead of the hazardous gas previously used.

“And obviously it’s a very environmentally sensitive area around the whole island, frontside and backside,” says Gress. “The environment is important to us.”

For town leaders, the $25 million upgrade was critical as hurricanes strengthen.

“Hurricane Hugo in 1989 really let everyone know exactly what can happen. We’ve seen increased severity in storms,” says Smith.

The new facility includes pipe and pump upgrades islandwide and should serve residents for 50 to 75 years.

“Without critical infrastructure, wastewater treatment facilities, clean water – you can’t have a community,” says Smith. “At all.”

“That’s what they should be excited about, that it’s going to remain,” says Gress. “When they flush that toilet, it’s gone.”

All portions of the former plant are being converted to be used for the new wastewater treatment plant here on Sullivan’s Island.