New Capital Improvements Program and 2014 Rates
Rate increases will help fund infrastructure improvements
(November 26, 2013)—Charleston Water System’s Board of Commissioners has approved a $141.5-million Capital Improvements Program and a three-year series of rate increases to fund critical infrastructure needs as well as continued funding of annual operation and maintenance of the water and sewer systems.
Retail Rate Increases
On January 1, 2014, water rates will increase by an average of 4.5%, and sewer rates will go up by an average of 4.75%. Rates will increase by the same average percentages in January 2015 and in January 2016.
The rate increases are averages because the exact percentage increase depends on how much water you use, where you live, and the meter size serving your home or business. The table below shows how the increases will affect typical residential customers. Because of changes to CWS’s minimum bill, some customers who use very little water each month (1,496 gallons or less) will actually see a decrease in their monthly bill. View the 2014 rate schedule (PDF) | Learn more about our rates
How will the new rates affect my bill?
It depends on where you live and how much water you use. The table below shows the monthly increase for the typical residential customer, who uses 5,236 gallons of water a month. Some residential customers who use 1,496 gallons a month or less and pay the minimum bill will actually see a decrease.
Where you live
Service from CWS
Min. bill customer
(1,496 gal or less)
|Inside City of Charleston
||Water & Sewer
|Outside City of Charleston
|Outside City of Charleston
||Water & Sewer
New Capital Improvements Program
The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) includes 18 critical water and sewer infrastructure projects identified through master planning studies. These projects will allow CWS to accommodate projected growth in our service area, rehabilitate or replace aging infrastructure, and continue to meet changing regulatory requirements.
Some of the projects included in the Capital Improvements Program are as follows:
- Replacement of a 110-year-old settling basin at the Hanahan Water Treatment Plant,
- Extension of the 16-inch water transmission main serving Hollywood and Ravenel,
- New facilities at the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, including pre-treatment, (headworks), primary clarifiers, and final settling tanks, and
- Rehabilitation of the gravity sewer trunk mains that serve the Highway 61 corridor and Johns Island.
For a complete list of projects, download the 2014 – 2017 CIP report (PDF).
Charleston Water System’s last Capital Improvements Program totaled $85 million and was approved in 2010. Construction on many of those projects is ongoing, including the $51 million West Ashley Sewer Tunnel Replacement Project.
*Does not include borrowing costs.
Nighttime construction work on West Ashley Greenway scheduled for Monday and Tuesday (Nov 11 & 13)
CWS will relocate a section of water pipe for the City of Charleston's storm water improvement project
(November 8, 2013)—Next week, Charleston Water System will perform work on a large water transmission main in the West Ashley Greenway next to Forest Park Playground.
The complexity of this work requires us to begin at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov 12th, and work continuously for an estimated 36 hours.
This work will not affect customers' water service, but it will generate noise from construction traffic and equipment. We will do our best to minimize this, but the nature of the work will cause some disturbance.
The purpose of this work is to move a section of transmission main that conflicts with the City of Charleston’s storm water drainage improvement project.
For questions or more information, contact Frank Frazier, CWS Construction Inspector at (843) 296-2243 (cell) or email@example.com.
SCDHEC investigates illegal disposal of PCBs into sewer systems in SC
Restaurants asked to lock outdoor grease traps
(October 2, 2013)—Charleston Water System is notifying restaurants that have exterior grease traps to secure them after a rash of illegal PCBs disposal into the sewer systems in South Carolina.
The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is investigating several cases of PCBs contamination at wastewater treatment plants in the Upstate and in a grease trap in the Midlands. Investigations have confirmed that PCBs were illegally disposed into grease traps connected to the sewer systems.
As a result, SCDHEC has issued guidelines for handling and disposing of PCBs in grease traps and is requiring wastewater treatment plants to test for the presence of PCBs. Charleston Water System has sent samples from the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to a laboratory to test for PCBs. We have no reason to suspect PCB contamination, but we are following this situation closely and taking the necessary precautions.
Any restaurant that suspects unauthorized disposal in their outdoor grease trap should contact SCDHEC and have the grease trap tested by a certified laboratory.
PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) are chemicals that were used in electrical equipment before being banned in 1979 because of adverse health and environmental impacts.
For more information, contact SCDHEC or Charleston Water System's Wastewater Collection Department at (843) 308-8200 or via email.
Hollywood-Ravenel Water Main Extension, Phase II
Project information and route map
(September 25, 2013)—Currently in the design and planning phase, the Hollywood-Ravenel water main extension project involves installing approximately 2.5 miles of 6, 12, and 16-inch water mains in the vicinity of Highway 17, Old Jacksonboro Road, and New Road.
View Maps (PDF): Phase II conceptual route near Old Jacksonboro & New Roads | All phases
The new water lines will improve fire protection, expand water service coverage, improve system reliability, and meet future water supply demand in the Hollywood and Ravenel communities.
The project is scheduled to be bid for construction during the first quarter of 2014. For more information, please contact Marie Corbin, Project Engineer via email or at (843) 727-6878.
Traffic Notice: One lane of Lockwood Drive (downtown) closed for sewer repair
(August 22, 2013)—One southbound lane of Lockwood Drive—the one closest to the Ashley River—will be closed between the City Marina and Beaufain Street while Charleston Water System repairs a collapsed sewer line. The other southbound lane will remain open to traffic.
The repair work began today and will take about two weeks to complete. The lane will be open to traffic for Labor Day weekend. The lane closure schedule is as follows:
- Friday, Aug 23: lane closed 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Sat & Sun: open to traffic
- Next week: closed 24 hours, but will reopen Friday at noon for the Labor Day weekend
- Sept 3 – 6: closed 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Electronic signs will be posted to inform drivers of the lane closure.
New wastewater pump station and sewer improvements for Red Top community
(April 11, 2013)—A contractor for Charleston Water System will soon begin construction on a sewer infrastructure project in the Red Top area of rural West Ashley.
The project involves building a new wastewater pump station near the corner of Bear Swamp Road and Bees Ferry Road and installing new sewer lines along Bees Ferry Road and Old Charleston Road. Phase II of the project includes installing a new sewer line along Main Road and the West Ashley Greenway.
The new pump station will replace three old stations (two on Old Charleston Road and one on Bees Ferry) to improve system reliability and capacity.
Charleston Water System is notifying residents and businesses on Old Charleston Road about the sewer line work. For more information, please contact Terry Seabrook, Community Outreach Consultant, at (843) 607-2490 or send us an email.
Church Creek Neighborhood Sewer Overflow
Residents should avoid contact with marsh and waterway
(March 28, 2013)—Charleston Water System has posted signs and distributed flyers in the Church Creek Neighborhood alerting people to avoid contact with the waterway near Arthur Gaillard Lane because of a recent sewer overflow.
The overflow occurred near the intersection of Arthur Gaillard Lane and Planters Drive after heavy rainfall on March 24th. During heavy rain events, rainwater can sometimes find its way into the sanitary sewer system and overwhelm pipe capacity, causing an overflow.
Crews have cleaned and disinfected the impacted area, but wastewater overflowed into the surrounding marsh and tributary, and could possibly reach the Ashley River.
CWS has informed the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), which regulates sewer utilities, and is conducting water quality sampling in the impacted marsh and waterway. The signs will remain posted until water samples show bacteria levels have returned to normal.
Questions? Call Charleston Water System at (843) 727-6800.
Update - Church Creek Neighborhood sewer overflow
(April 3, 2013)—Lab results for water samples taken from the lake and marsh near Arthur Gaillard Lane show that total coliform bacteria levels have returned to normal. The signs posted near the waterway will be removed.
Temporary water outage on Saturday, Jan 26th for customers off Hwy 165 in Meggett
(January 25, 2013)—On Saturday, a contractor will complete the relocation of Charleston Water System’s 12-inch water main in Highway 165 at Meggett Creek Bridge, requiring a four-hour water outage beginning at 9 a.m. for customers in the following areas:
- Highway 165 south of Meggett Quail Drive
- Archfield Avenue
- Meggett Creek Road
- Oyster House Road
- Simmons Bluff Road
- Lord Proprietor’s Road
About 100 customers will be affected by the outage and have been notified via electronic signs on Hwy 165 and door hangers.
The water main relocation was necessary for the SCDOT’s Meggett Creek Bridge replacement project. Questions? Call 727-6800.
North Charleston, Ladson customers to get new automated water meters in 2013
(January 25, 2013)—Throughout the year, Charleston Water System will be installing about 6,000 automated water meters for customers in parts of Ladson and North Charleston, including Otranto, Northwoods, The Lakes, and Woodside neighborhoods.
The new meters have a battery-operated device that emits a radio signal with your meter reading. This allows our meter readers to collect readings with a receiver as they drive by, which is faster and more accurate than manual meter reading.
Installation takes about thirty minutes and requires a brief interruption of water service. Customers scheduled to get a new meter will be notified by letter and again immediately before installation.
Charleston Water System has been installing automated meters since 2004. Currently, about half of our 110,000 accounts have the new meters.
Questions? Call Charleston Water System Customer Service at (843) 727-6800.