Formation and Current Information

The Commissioners of Public Works of the Town of Summerville is a five person board comprised of three members elected specifically to serve as commissioners by the registered voters of the Town and two ex-officio members from Town Council. The "CPW" was formed by Town Council on October 2, 1919. The Commissioners are charged with the full control and management of the water and wastewater systems under Section 5-31 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina. Each Commissioner elected to the board serves a six year term without compensation with elections held every two years to fill the staggered terms.

The current commissioners are Charles L. Cuzzell III, George L. Tupper III, and Stephen W. Mueller, Mayor Russ Touchberry and Councilmember Kima Garten-Schmidt.

Water System

The water works system was established on February 19, 1930 by a vote of the registered electors of the Town of Summerville.

Over the years, the system has been expanded to serve the residents of the Town of Summerville and certain areas beyond the Town limits. The first water plant was located on East Doty Street next to the current Summerville-Dorchester Museum and included four wells, an elevated water tank and a storage facility. This plant was replaced in 1951 by the water treatment plant located on Bacons Bridge Road and the Ashley River. In 1979, SCPW began using deep wells (1,800 ft deep) and maintained a connection with Charleston Water System that was established in 1937. The water treatment plant remained active until 1991.

On July 28, 1992, the Commissioners approved a contract and resolution creating the Lake Moultrie Water Agency. A 24 mgd (million gallons per day) surface water plant, with expansion capability, was built on Lake Moultrie by Santee Cooper at a cost of $36,000,000. Four local utilities joined the Agency: Summerville CPW, Moncks Corner Public Works Commission, the City of Goose Creek and Berkeley County Water & Sanitation Authority. Summerville CPW began receiving all of its water from the Santee Cooper Regional Water System in October 1994 and increased water production to 10 mgd. The Santee Cooper Regional Water System expanded to 40 mgd in 2018 with Summerville CPW’s capacity increasing to 18 mgd. The water line serving Summerville CPW is approximately 20 miles in length.

The current water system also includes three emergency standby wells capable of producing 4.5 million gallons of water per day, an emergency connection with Charleston Water System for an additional 1.5 million gallons of water per day and nine storage facilities with a combined capacity of 4.5 million gallons.

The water distribution system contains over 387 miles of pipe ranging in diameter from one inch (1") to twentyfour inches (24"). Summerville CPW has over 2,128 fire hydrants, 7,521 valves and over 28,337 meters included in the system.

Summerville CPW currently has over 27,887 customers who use approximately 9.25 million gallons of water each day. The peak day demand for the system exceeded 15.9 million gallons per day in May 2019.

Wastewater System

The sewer system was authorized by a referendum on August 13, 1941 and construction of a sanitary sewer system and sewage disposal plant was financed in 1944. The sewer system was operated by the Town until July 22, 1953 when the sewer system and its operation was turned over to the Summerville CPW. The water and sewer systems were combined and placed under the control and management of the Commissioners on June 16, 1960.

The original wastewater treatment facility was located on Magnolia Street; currently the Dominion substation on the B.G. Myers Parkway. The original plant continued to operate through the development of the current wastewater treatment plant site on Orangeburg Rd. Construction of the original 20 acre aerated lagoon facility began in 1960.

In 1993 construction began for a new 10 mgd wastewater plant at the existing facility. The wastewater facility was completed in June 1995. Over 25,000 cubic yards of concrete and 7,000 tons of steel rebar were used in the construction of the plant. The total cost of this project was $16,800,000. Payment for this project was made from cash reserves that the Commissioners established and developed over ten years. The Commissioners made a conscious effort to save a sufficient amount of money to avoid any debt and this has resulted in a tremendous savings to our customers.

The current wastewater facility features two Eimco Carrousel basins with biological nutrient removal, sludge handling and loading facilities, septage receiving facilities, two clarifiers, three aerobic digesters, effluent storage basins and a remote post-aeration facility. Treated effluent is discharged into the Ashley River through a 24" force main pipe 4.375 miles in length. The biosolids solar dryer project, currently under construction, will reduce the amount of material sent to the landfill. Summerville CPW's current sewer system also includes 47 pump stations, 6,049 manholes, 238 miles of gravity pipe and 34 miles of force main.

Summerville CPW has 20,655 sewer customers and treats approximately 6.0 million gallons of wastewater each day.

General Information

Summerville CPW funds (71) full time employee positions. The operational and capital budget exceeds $33,549,000. Revenue for the operation of Summerville CPW is generated by water and sewer fees and charges. Summerville CPW does not receive any tax revenue for its operation.