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History

Plans for establishing a waterworks system for the Town of Mount Pleasant were inaugurated in September, 1933 while T.G. McCants was mayor. Mayor McCants died during the planning stages, and Mayor W. L. Erckmann saw the project to completion. James E. Gibson (manager and engineer of the Charleston Water System) prepared plans and cost estimates for a system that would supply 160,000 gallons of water per day.

On November 15, 1934, in a special Town election, the following question was on the ballot: "Shall the Town of Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, South Carolina, construct and operate a system of water works, and issue self-liquidating bonds of the Town of Mount Pleasant, to the amount of fifty-seven thousand ($57,000.00) Dollars…" Following the favorable vote by the citizens of Mount Pleasant (102 ballots in favor and no ballots against), an application was made to the State Public Works Administration (PWA) Board. The federal government (PWA) agreed to underwrite the $75,000 cost to construct a plant through a grant of $18,000 and by issuing $57,000 in bonds (bearing four percent interest).

In October 1935, the Commission began formal operation of a water distribution system from three wells (with a combined capacity of 160,000 gallons per day) with automatic electric pumps, one 100,000 gallon elevated storage tank and one 300,000 gallon steel storage tank which also served as an emergency supply for fire fighting. Two 500- gallon-per-minute pumps (one automatic electric, one gasoline) were installed in the brick pumping station building for fire service protection. The distribution system consisted of 5.8 miles of 2, 6 and 8-inch mains and 21 fire hydrants. At the end of 1935, a total of 179 water meters had been installed to serve the Town's population.

The public wastewater system began operating in 1942 with an untreated discharge to Charleston Harbor. Expansion took place as the town grew. In the early 1960's, the Commission contracted an engineering firm to design a wastewater collection system expansion under the PL 660 Federal program. In 1969, construction began on the first primary treatment facility capable of processing 1.4 million gallons per day (MGD). The facility and collection system were completed and operations started in June of 1970. This facility was a contact stabilization secondary treatment plant and the first form of wastewater treatment in Mount Pleasant.

In 1976 under Public Law 92-500 EPA Federal Grants Program, the facility was expanded from 1.4 MGD to 3.7 MGD with the addition of flow equalization and converting to conventional activated sludge treatment process. At the same time, four small package plants were taken out of service and flow from these plants was diverted to the expanded Center Street Wastewater Treatment Plant. In 1984 it was determined this facility was not to be expanded beyond its present capacity. Therefore the master plan was developed at the request of the Commissioners to determine how wastewater treatment would be provided beyond the Center Street Plant service area. The Commission purchased 40 acres of land on which future facilities would be built. In 1986, the Commission saw growth starting to take place outside the existing town limits and beyond the sewer service area. In order to stop the proliferation of sewer package treatment plants and to protect the environment, the Commission requested and received from the State of South Carolina the service area expanding to the Wando and Santee rivers.

An outfall line was constructed in 1989, which has an assimilative capacity of 17 MGD. All MPW's treated wastewater is discharged through the outfall line 4,700 feet into Charleston Harbor in the Rebellion Reach Channel for maximum dilution.

A second wastewater treatment plant at Rifle Range Road began operations in May 1994, adding 2.4 MGD treatment capacity to the Commission's system. This plant also made it possible to eliminate the remaining discharges in the Mount Pleasant service area and serve 1,000 residents previously on septic tanks. The plant's aeration system achieves a higher level of treatment than required by the Clean Water Act and the Department of Health and Environmental Control's discharge permit.

A water reuse system was incorporated to minimize the need for potable water in plant operations. The Rifle Range Road Wastewater Treatment Plant plant is equipped with the first East Cooper septage receiving station, which will process waste from septic tank trucks, portable toilets and travel trailers. All features promote a safer, cleaner water environment.


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