WATER QUALITY ADVISORY: ReWa crews restore operations following a sanitary sewer overflow. Click here to read more.

Graham W. Rich set to retire as CEO in April

Greenville S.C. (January 26, 2022) – The Renewable Water Resources’ (ReWa) Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution approving the retirement of ReWa’s long-time Chief Executive Officer, Graham W. Rich. It also passed a resolution appointing Joel Jones, ReWa’s chief operating officer, as Rich’s successor. Jones has nearly 30 years of experience working with Upstate wastewater utilities.

These changes are slated to take effect on April 25, 2022.

“As a Board, we are grateful for the six years Graham Rich served as CEO,” John T. Crawford Jr., Chair of ReWa’s Board of Commissioners, said in an email to ReWa employees. “His steady hand has resulted in an unparalleled progress that will most certainly go down in the history books.”

As CEO, Rich played a critical role in supporting the area’s future and protecting its environmental purity. Working directly with ReWa’s Board, governmental agencies and environmental and economic development groups, Rich lead the development of comprehensive plans for projected growth throughout the Upstate, working 10 to 20 years out in most cases.

This approach to collaborative planning supported the growing need for a more innovative approach to future capacity: Dig Greenville.

At 100 feet down, more than a mile long and 11 feet wide, the DIG Greenville tunnel was Greenville's biggest wastewater conveyance project. ReWa installed 7,363 feet of pipe to lower the risk of sewer overflows, especially when rainfall is high, helping to ensure proper infrastructure for the next 100 years, and beyond. By constructing a tunnel, completion of the project was accomplished without creating major disruptions for Greenville’s thriving Downtown region.

Rich has also helped lead efforts to drive improvements among the full complement of Upstate wastewater collection agencies, not only through the development of groundbreaking programs that address the impact of wet weather on an increasingly aging network of pipes, but also through policy initiatives.

In addition, he served as a trusted voice in the call for creating a more unified network of providers and was an early advocate for Greenville County Council’s recent move to consolidate a number of smaller wastewater collectors into MetroConnects.

Another one of Rich’s accomplishments included the development and implementation of a succession management strategy for both planned—and unexpected—executive vacancies. When compared to the traditional approach of hiring a search firm and casting a wide net, this strategy has proven to be successful, cost-effective and efficient.

Rich has more than 30 years of experience in water and wastewater industries and environmental engineering and offers deep expertise in strategic planning, capital financing and public consensus building. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from Clemson University and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He is also a Board-certified environmental engineer from the American Society of Environmental Engineers.

About Renewable Water Resources (ReWa)

Since 1925, ReWa has been committed to providing high-quality wastewater treatment services to the Upstate of South Carolina while promoting a cleaner environment, protecting public health and the water quality of Upstate waterways, and developing the necessary sewer infrastructure to sustain our community and growing economy.

Servicing nearly 500,000 industrial, commercial and residential customers in Greenville County and parts of Anderson, Spartanburg, Pickens and Laurens Counties, ReWa’s mission is to improve our community’s quality of life by transforming wastewater into renewable resources through responsible and innovative solutions.

ReWa employs 195 people and has a $98 million operating budget. Its capital program is expected to drive investment of nearly $400 million in new projects over the next five years. With nine water resource recovery facilities and more than 350 miles of pipe, each day an estimated 42 million gallons of water passes through ReWa’s trunk lines and reclamation facilities before being cleaned and returned to our area rivers and streams. To learn more about ReWa, visit www.rewaonline.org.

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