2019 Achievement Award winner - City of Cayce
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The City of Cayce received a Municipal Achievement Award for its Waterline Replacement Project. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Annual Meeting on July 20. The city won in the public works category. Twenty-nine cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.

With issues like water discoloration, flow and pressure problems, as well as line breaks, the City of Cayce faced growing challenges with its water system. Much of the infrastructure was built from the 1930s to the 1950s with galvanized, cast iron and asbestos cement piping.

System replacement is often handled incrementally, but since the city qualified for a low-interest State Revolving Fund loan, it created an ambitious $29 million plan, the largest project in the city’s history, to handle all the needed replacements at the same time to minimize the period of disruption. The city also enlisted the Cayce Utility Fund as well as a lease purchase agreement backed by that fund to finance the work.

After two years of design work, construction began in April 2017 and made use of seven contractors. When it was completed in December 2018, crews had replaced 262,000 linear feet of existing water lines, 4,000 water meters, fire hydrants and a 1-million-gallon elevated storage tank. The completed project represents 75 percent of the city’s water infrastructure.

Communication efforts formed a key part of the project, emphasizing that the city wanted transparency and valued business concerns and customer satisfaction. The city’s engineer was contracted to handle all resident communications and complaints. Contracting out for a dedicated customer service phone, email and communication system allowed city staff to continue providing routine services. Councilmembers informed residents and gave updates at neighborhood meetings and community events, and all city staff carried Waterline Replacement Project business cards.

“Cayce’s fast tracked infrastructure replacement project improve the quality of life for its residents and enhanced the potential for economic development using a unique approach that minimized disruptions,” said Eric Budds, interim 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 South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.