News and Events

Hexavalent Chromium and the Unregulated Contaminant Rule

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in News | Comments Off on Hexavalent Chromium and the Unregulated Contaminant Rule

The LCWSC water system, along with other water systems across the nation, was sampled during 2014 as part of the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3). The EPA uses the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring (UCM) program to collect data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Every five years EPA reviews the list of contaminants, largely based on the Contaminant Candidate List.

The EPA will evaluate the information gathered, as well as potential health effects studies, to determine if regulatory limits are needed. Collecting information about the occurrence of these compounds in water supplies is the first step in the EPA’s efforts to determine whether they should be regulated.

As a result of the above sampling there was a recent article publish by EWG (Environmental Working Group) regarding the presence of hexavalent chromium in US drinking water systems, including Laurens County. This article was posted to local media outlets and shared by some Laurens County residents via Facebook. Hexavalent chromium is both naturally occurring and/or a result of industrial discharge activities. It can be found at various levels in public water systems, and possibly private wells and bottle water. The following is an American Water Works Association link which provides further information about hexavalent chromium.

http://www.drinktap.org/water-info/whats-in-my-water/hexavalent-chromium.aspx

Levels of hexavalent chromium in the LCWSC drinking water are far below the current EPA limit for total chromium of 100 ppb. Furthermore, in the future if the EPA decides to implement maximum contaminate limits (MCL) specific to hexavalent chromium it will more than likely follow the 2014 standard set by the state of California, which is 10 ppb. The levels in the LCWSC water system are 50 times lower than even this more stringent limit.

Our UCMR results, which were included in our 2014 Consumer Confidence Water Quality Report, is below. For results from this and other annual Water Quality Reports, please visit our web-site at http://lcwsc.com/consumer-confidence-report/ .

ucmr-press-release-final_page_table

  • The presence of a compound does not necessarily mean there is a health risk. The concentration of a compound is a far more important factor in determining potential health implications. Results for the UCMR3 testing are measured in “part per billion” (ppb) increments.  An easier way to understand the concept of a “part per billion” is to consider it in the context of a few examples.  A part per billion is also:
    • 1 penny in 10 million dollars
    • 1 second in 32 years
    • 1 foot of a trip to the moon
    • 1 blade of grass on a football field
    • 1 drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool

The LCWSC is fully committed to protecting public health and ensuring your water meets or surpasses all state and federal health standards for tap water.  If at any time our water fails to meet federal or state drinking water standards, we will notify our customers and take all necessary actions to correct the problem immediately. If you have further concerns or questions do not hesitate to call our office 864-682-3250.

 

Capital Rate Plan

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in News | Comments Off on Capital Rate Plan

Year 3 of this plan begins July 1, 2016

 

For several years, the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission (LCWSC) has been working to build a water treatment facility on Lake Greenwood. Given the magnitude and complexity of this type of project, it can take many years for visible progress to take shape. That is about to change in a significant way, as we will start construction of this facility in the next 3 to 5 years. In an effort to keep our customers informed about this important project, we’ve outlined some additional information to better explain how we got to this point in the process. As we reach milestones over the next 5 years, more updates on this project will be made available via our website and local media. With each milestone, we hope our customers will have a growing sense of pride in their new water treatment facility; and more importantly, a growing confidence that their children and grandchildren will have access to a reliable, high-quality drinking water source.

Why does LCWSC need to build a water treatment plant?

As the largest water provider in Laurens County, LCWSC supplies water for all unincorporated areas in Laurens County as well as parts of southern Greenville County. We serve nearly 40,000 residents through 14,000 water taps. While most of our customer base is residential, we are experiencing industrial and commercial growth in the northern part of the County. This growth is beneficial for creating more jobs, which in turn leads to more residential development. We expect this trend to spread across our County, significantly increasing our water demand.

Is Laurens County prepared for growth?

Currently, the County’s water source is either Lake Rabon or the Enoree River. Based on a comprehensive Water Resources Master Plan performed by United Research Services (URS) Corporation in 2009, both sources have a combined reliable capacity of 14 million gallons per day (MGD). While this may sound like a lot, the current maximum daily water demand in Laurens County can reach as high as 8 MGD, more than half of this available capacity. As more large industries choose Laurens County and we experience an increase in population, we will exceed our capacity. For comparison, Greenwood County, with roughly the same population as Laurens County, has a water treatment facility rated at 30 MGD.

Why choose Lake Greenwood as a water source?

As part of the Water Resources Master Plan, URS Corporation examined every available reservoir greater than 50 acres, as well as the source of water for these reservoirs. The Saluda River was identified as our most reliable water source, as no other rivers or reservoirs would be sustainable beyond a 50-year planning period. By utilizing Lake Greenwood as the location of our water plant, we will also benefit from the Reedy River, another very reliable water source.

Why do we have to build this treatment plant now?

It is necessary that we proceed with this project now, instead of delaying it another 5 or 10 years, for several reasons. First, the City of Laurens Commission of Public Works (CPW) and the City of Clinton have aging water plants. While both plants have been well maintained and operated, they face potential challenges in meeting future, more stringent regulations. Second, as the largest user of both facilities, LCWSC would provide primary funding for any capital improvements made to either of the existing facilities. Therefore, investing in a new facility using a more sustainable source is a better use of our funds.

How will LCWSC pay for such an important, but large project?

The property for the water plant and the site for the intake structure on Lake Greenwood have already been purchased. Phase I of the project, estimated at $500,000, will consist of State and Federal permitting, securing Greenwood County approval, and preliminary design. This will be done on a pay-as-you go basis over the next 3 to 5 years. Phase II, estimated at $30,000,000, will involve the final design and construction. This will be funded through a 30-year loan resulting in an increase in annual debt service of approximately $1,300,000. Because we will no longer purchase water from the CPW and the City of Clinton, LCWSC will save approximately $1,000,000 per year. These savings will be used to offset the cost of operating the new treatment plant. Therefore, the increase in debt service requires additional revenue that will be funded by an increase in user fees (capital rate increase).

With an average monthly water bill of $29.97, LCWSC currently has one of the lowest unincorporated rates in the Upstate. Only one water rate increase has occurred during the last 10 years. The proposed capital rate increase would be implemented over the course of 5 years through five phases, beginning July 1, 2014 and concluding July 1, 2018.

  • Phase I (July 1, 2014): Reduce gallons included in a minimum bill to 500 gallons.
  • Phase II (July 1, 2015): Integrate a 3% increase in volume fees.
  • Phase III (July 1, 2016): Eliminate all gallons included in the minimum.
  • Phase IV (July 1, 2017): Integrate a 3% increase in volume fees.
  • Phase V (July 1, 2018): Integrate a 3% increase in volume fees.

The projected total increase after 5 years is $6.74 per month, or an average increase of 4.5% over 5 years. This is a very modest rate increase to secure a long-term, sustainable water source that will be invaluable to future generations of Laurens County.

The table below illustrates each phase and the corresponding monthly bill based on an average usage of 4,050 gallons per month, a typical monthly usage for our customers.

Current Bill July 2014 July 2015 July 2016 July 2017 July 2018 Total Increase
Average Bill $29.97 $32.42 $32.95 $35.47 $36.08 $36.72 $6.74
Minimum $15.00 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00 $15.00
$/1000 $4.90 $4.90 $5.05 $5.05 $5.20 $5.35

 

For further information on this important project, please call our office at 864-682-3250.

Sewer Capital Rehabilitation Rate Plan

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in News | Comments Off on Sewer Capital Rehabilitation Rate Plan

Laurens County Water & Sewer Commission (LCWSC) adopted a 4-year Sewer Capital Rehabilitation Rate Plan.  In order to ensure that a sustainable sewer system is available for future generations, this plan will eliminate the need to use limited reserve funds for capital rehabilitation projects as required to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations.  A well maintained, highly functioning wastewater collection and treatment system is required to adequately serve our customers and protect the environment. Ongoing maintenance must be performed to ensure that the LCWSC continually meets these standards. As a non-profit public utility, LCWSC depends solely on your payments to cover the operation and maintenance costs of its wastewater systems. The goals of the rate-making process are to ensure that rates are fair and equitable and generate enough funds to reliably operate and maintain the wastewater systems.

  • Phase I (July 1, 2016): Sewer Collection increase monthly base fee $0.50, and 3% increase in volume fees. Sewer Treatment 4% increase in volume fees.
  • Phase II (July 1, 2017): Sewer Collection increase monthly base fee $0.50, and 3% increase in volume fees. Sewer Treatment 3% increase in volume fees.
  • Phase III (July 1, 2018): Sewer Collection 3% increase in volume fees. Sewer Treatment 3% increase in volume fees.
  • Phase IV (July 1, 2019): Sewer Collection 3% increase in volume fees. Sewer Treatment 3% increase in volume fees.

The projected total increase after 4 years is $4.69 per month, or an average increase of 3.1% over 4 years. This is a very modest rate increase to ensure the sustainability of a sewer system that will be invaluable to future generations of Laurens County.

The table below illustrates each phase and the corresponding monthly bill based on an average usage of 4,100 gallons per month, a typical monthly usage for our customers.

 

  July 2016July 2017July 2018July 2019
Current BillIncrease base fee $0.50,
3% & 4% Increase
Increase base fee $0.50,
3% Increase
3% Increase3% Increase
Average Bill
$36.17$37.65$39.01$39.91$40.86
Sewer Collection Base Fee$8.00$8.50$9.00$9.00$9.00
Sewer Collection Volume Rate$3.34$3.44$3.54$3.65$3.76
Sewer Treatment Volume Rate$3.53$3.67$3.78$3.89$4.01

Our New Payment System Fits the Bill!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in News | Comments Off on Our New Payment System Fits the Bill!

Our New Payment System Fits the Bill!

 

As a part of our efforts to provide you with the best possible service, we have made some significant improvements to our payment system that will benefit you. The new system will be implemented starting November 1, offering you more convenient payment options and improved billing statements.

 

All customers should be aware that beginning November 1st:

  • Your account number will change
  • Your billing time frame may vary
  • Your monthly statement will appear different

The new system will allow you to manage your account online and will offer many new advantages. Customers will be able to set up draft payments from a checking account or credit card. We will now be able to accept e-check payments via our pay by phone system. There will also be improvements to many of the bank bill pay options.

Click here to see what the new bill will look like and points of interest.

Our goal is to make paying your monthly bill more convenient for you! If you have any questions regarding the new payment system please contact us at 864-682-3250.

 

Old Owings Tank Demolition August 5, 2015

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in News | Comments Off on Old Owings Tank Demolition August 5, 2015

Video

Facts about the Old Owings Tank:

  • The old Owings tank was constructed in 1974 by Taylor Iron Works
  • Same era as Hickory Tavern Tank
  • 150,000 gallon capacity
  • 145 FT Overflow Height
  • Original 990 HGL Tank