State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC)
South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS)
State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships
DWSRF PRIORITIZATION OF CONSOLIDATION PROJECTS
Projects that involve consolidation or regionalization receive a higher ranking on the DWSRF project priority list. In addition, the DWSRF program offers a 1 percent capacity development rate to fund system upgrades and improvements that can help encourage a viable system to take over a non-viable system. Projects that do not include consolidation of water systems when consolidation or regionalization is the most feasible alternative are ineligible for DWSRF funding. 30 percent of each annual federal capitalization grant is allocated as additional subsidies to encourage consolidations, most of the time in the form of principal forgiveness loans.
South Carolina has partnered with the South Carolina Council of Governments (COG) to fund evaluations of municipal water systems to assess the feasibility of consolidation. The Capacity Development Program has been involved with facilitating regionalization projects in conjunction with the DWSRF program, South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Budget & Control Board-Office of Local Government, and other non-governmental organizations.
STATE ORDERED CONSOLIDATION OR RECEIVERSHIP
The South Carolina DHEC can petition the State’s Administrative Law Court to appoint a receiver for a system whose owner is recalcitrant towards regulatory requirements; if the system is privately-owned, the PSC may also be involved in this process. The ORS represents the consumers in such actions and will petition the PSC to allow use of the system owner’s bond with the PSC to be liquidated to fund the system’s operations between receivership designation and new owner designation.
NEW, SMALL NON-COMMUNITY SYSTEMS REQUIRED TO CONSIDER CONSOLIDATION
When a small business water system applies for a construction permit, they must provide the name of and distance to the nearest publicly-owned water system. They may also be required to submit a cost estimate for connecting to this system. In addition, they must agree to connect to a PWS whenever the water line from such a system becomes contiguous to the business’ property.
Helpful Links to State Resources
- Drinking Water Program: http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/YourHomeEnvironmentalandSafetyConcerns/DrinkingWaterConcerns/
- DWSRF: http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeandEnvironment/BusinessesandCommunities-GoGreen/EnvironmentalGrantsandLoans/StateRevolvingFund/
- Capacity Development Strategy: http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/WaterQuality/DrinkingWater/CapacityDevelopmentStrategy/
- Operator Certification: http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/environmental/index.asp?file=PDF_Files/qualifications.htm