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MASC honors city with Achievement Award

Posted: July 28, 2015 5:33 p.m.
Updated: July 29, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Provided by the MASC/

Assistant to the City Manager Caitlin Corbett (third from left) and Camden City Councilwoman Alfred Mae Drakeford (third from right) hold, respectively, a plaque and cup representing its award of a Municipal Association of South Carolina achievement award recognizing the successful construction and startup of the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Also on hand were (from left) Camden City Councilwoman Deborah Davis, City Manager Mel Pearson, Public Works Director Tom Couch and Camden City Councilwoman Laurie Parks.

The Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) recently honored the city of Camden with an Achievement Award at the municipal association’s annual meeting held July 18.

The award recognized the city for its new wastewater facility, according to MASC officials. The city won in the 5,001 - 10,000 population category. Twenty-nine cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.

According to a MASC press release, when the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control deemed Camden’s wastewater lagoon violated a consent order limiting effluent toxicity released in the Wateree River, officials faced a problem. With an eye on the future, officials committed to constructing a new facility to add capacity and support economic development in the area.

According to the release, the biggest challenge officials faced was finding money for the massive project. City finance staff worked with the South Carolina State Revolving Fund to secure a low-interest loan for the $35 million facility. They used the funds for plans, design, legal fees, construction, equipment and engineering observation.

The city then selected an underutilized portion of the existing treatment plant property as the location for the new plant. After months of construction, the plant was up and running. The facility uses an ultraviolet disinfection system, the first of its kind in the United States. The new system eliminates the release of toxic effluent into the river and produces biosolids for land application on local farms, according to the release.

During construction, city officials kept residents in the loop through public meetings and a blog. For the plant’s opening, officials invited the public to tour the modern facility after attending a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The city plans to turn the old lagoon into an environmental education center with an artificial wetland, walking trail, wildlife observation area and canoe launch on the Wateree River.

“Camden’s wastewater project is a great example of public participation and turning dilapidated infrastructure into something positive for residents and visitors,” MASC Executive Director Miriam Hair said. “These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns.”

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