The Town of Edisto Beach has received a Municipal Achievement Award for its water improvement project.
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The Town of Edisto Beach has received a Municipal Achievement Award for its water improvement project. The town won in the 1 – 1,000 population category. Thirty cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives for consideration in the annual awards. 
Edisto Beach had several goals for its new water treatment plant. The town aimed to reduce minerals such as sodium and chloride, which had given the local water supply a reputation for an unpleasant, salty taste. Many residents coped with this using home filtration systems, but the minerals also corroded everything from distribution pipes to residential appliances. Tourism, the keystone of the local economy, also places dramatically higher demands on the water system each summer, creating an essential challenge for the new system to meet.

Edisto Beach pursued the project in the face of numerous obstacles and complex permitting issues. It funded the new plant with combined water and sewer revenue bonds with a guaranteed maximum cost of $7,200,000, supported by user fees gradually phased in. A Water and Sewer Committee, made up of community members, provided advocacy for the project and also remained involved throughout planning and construction. 

The town contracted with an engineer for construction and used the progressive design-build method. In this method, owners and builders collaborate on changes throughout the project to manage costs. 

The finished product is a plant using three groundwater wells, each 580 feet deep, and a reverse-osmosis treatment system allowing for a total capacity of 960 gallons per minute. The plant also features storage of 300,000 gallons of treated water. 

“Town leaders in Edisto Beach were successful in improving a critical service for their residents and their visitors,” said Todd Glover, executive director for the Municipal Association.

These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. Information and a video about the project are available on the Association’s website (keyword: Achievement Awards).  

The Municipal Association of SC initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.