Renewable Water Resources Celebrates Significant Next Phase of DIG Greenville

Unveiling and Naming of Tunnel Boring Machine

Greenville S.C. (October 3, 2019) – Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) celebrated a key milestone in its massive DIG Greenville project: the unveiling of the tunnel boring machine set to complete excavation of the new sewer tunnel without disturbing the environment or neighborhoods above it. The Reedy River Basin Sewer Tunnel (RRBST), also known as Dig Greenville, is a wastewater project designed to safely and efficiently revitalize our wastewater infrastructure in the growing Greenville community for the next 100 years by adding needed wastewater capacity to support the massive continued growth in downtown and up to the Travelers Rest area.

The highlight of the event, which also featured live drone footage from inside the tunnel and an overview of the project, was the official naming of the tunnel boring machine. It is customary for miners to name their equipment to ensure good luck. ReWa board chairman Ray Overstreet presented the new machine, affectionately known as Drilly, based on community input, and attendees were given a chance to christen it by signing their names to this soon-to-be piece of Greenville history. One of only a handful of similar pieces of equipment in the world, Drilly comes to Greenville from The Robbins Company in Toronto, Canada. It weighs 130 tons and measures 76.6 meters (249 feet) in length.

“Today represents a bold and exciting move into the future for our community as we underscore our capabilities in building infrastructure and anticipating future needs,” said Overstreet. “What we desire as an organization is your continued trust in us as navigators of the future, as protectors of the environment, and as a community partner to upgrade and maintain infrastructure and capacity needs for many generations to come.”

Receiving flow from Riley Street, near the Kroc Community Tennis Center and delivering flow to the existing system in Cleveland Park, upon completion the Reedy River Basin Sewer Tunnel will be approximately 11 feet in diameter and 6000 feet long and will house a 7-foot diameter fiberglass reinforced carrier pipe. Overseen by ReWa with help from contractor Black and Veatch, the Dig Greenville project has employed hand digging of a starter tunnel along with controlled blasting, followed by the use of the new high-powered boring drill. The estimated completion date for the project is May 2021.

In addition to Ray Overstreet, event speakers included Greenville City Councilman Wil Brasington, who touched on the significance of the project and the key role ReWa plays in ensuring smart and sustainable growth in our area, specifically ReWa’s commitment to delivering results in an eco-friendly and minimally-disruptive manner; Greenville Director of Parks and Recreation, Marlie Creasey-Smith, who addressed ReWa’s community partnerships commitment to delivering results in an eco-friendly and minimally-disruptive manner; Black & Veatch Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Mike Orth, who provided a construction and engineering project update; and A.J. Whittenburg fifth grade student Toli Makkus, who commented on the future of our city and ReWa’s efforts to use the Dig Greenville project as a lesson in environmental engineering for area students.

“ReWa project engineers have taught us about how the tunnel will work and how much engineering it takes for a project this big,” said Makkus. “We know the DIG Greenville project will make sure our city is prepared for even more growth and more people in the years to come.”

About Renewable Water Resources (ReWa)

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

With nine water resource recovery facilities and 352 miles of pipe, we serve a broad geographic area, including Greenville County and portions of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens, and Spartanburg Counties up to the North Carolina border. Each day an estimated 42 million gallons of water passes through our trunk lines and reclamation facilities before being cleaned and returned to our area rivers and streams. To learn more about ReWa, visit