Powdersville Water (PW) has completed the installation of 14,000 feet of 8-inch ductile iron pipe along the I-85 corridor in two locations. These projects provide enhanced fire flow to 680 customer accounts and also provide additional capacity for growth along the interstate. The combined project cost was approximately $860,000 and also provided an upgrade in service to a large industrial tract that is being marketed by the Anderson County Economic Development and the SC Department of Commerce. One of the projects upgraded the service along Durham Road and the other created a much needed loop in the system in the River Road area south of I-85. PW determined the need for this project through the use of their hydraulic computer model that is routinely calibrated. Work began on the projects in January and final inspections and project closeout occurred in July. This project was funded with $430,000 from the capacity fee account coupled with a matching grant of $430,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The capacity fees were collected from new homes and commercial developments that have connected to the system in recent years. This fee is called a capacity fee because new customers are actually purchasing the capacity from the system that they will need for their new homes or business ventures. Ultimately, these funds are used solely to offset the cost of future system upgrades that add capacity back to the system. “Capacity fees do not completely eliminate the need for rate increases,” explained Gordon Brush, PW’s Director of Finance and Administration. “But they do create a critical revenue stream that often allows us to tackle big projects like this without borrowing money and, as a result, mitigating future rate increases to our existing customers.”
Powdersville Water is a special purpose district that serves a population of approximately 35,000 people and has over 13,000 water connections. Its service area extends from northern Pickens County south along the Saluda River and I-85 into a large section of northern Anderson County.