Frequently Asked Questions

 

Billing & Customer Service


How can I pay my bill?

Please click here.

Can I get my bill adjusted if I had a leak?

If you find a water leak and repair it, you may be eligible for an adjustment for up to 3 months on your bill. We require proof of repair before granting a leak adjustment, and customers are eligible for one leak adjustment every three years. Please contact Customer Service Department at (843) 572-4400 for more information.

Can I get a discount on my sewer bill when I fill my pool?

No. BCWS does not provide a discount for filling a pool.

Can I sign up for automatic recurring payments using my credit card?

Not at this time, but we expect to offer this service soon. We do offer Auto Draft from a bank account, but not credit cards. We have opted not to store customers' credit card information.

How is my sewer bill calculated?

Residential sewer is billed at flat rate of $44.00 per month. Commercial sewer bills are billed based on water consumption and include a monthly minimum bill plus a volume charge for billable sewer usage above 7,000 gallons

How is my water bill calculated?

Your water bill includes a monthly minimum charge of $8.50 per month plus a volume charge for water consumption.

Why am I charged a minimum bill even if I don't use any water?

Our water and sewer rate structures both include a minimum bill, which is a monthly charge for service availability. The minimum bill is designed to recover the costs associated with making service available, including costs related to metering, billing and infrastructure. The water minimum bill includes pays for the costs associated with providing water for fire protection, one of the key functions of our water system. These costs remain constant regardless of whether you use any water in a billing period.

What is Automated Meter Reading (AMR)?

Automated Meter Reading, or AMR, is a new technology that allows meters to be read automatically using a laptop computer. These meters emit radio signals that are collected by computers in our meter readers' trucks. They allow us to collect meter readings automatically. BCWS began using this technology in 2009 and has installed about 22,000 units. The benefits of AMR include more precise meter readings and improved efficiency.  

What is my billing cycle?

Your water meter is read approximately every 28-31 days. If we are unable to get a reading, you may have a longer read time or your bill will be estimated based on your previous water usage. The following month, an actual reading will be taken and we'll make any necessary adjustments. You can help by making sure your water meter is accessible. Common obstacles that prevent us from reading meters include debris, cars parked over a meter, and unfriendly dogs.

Why is my bill higher than usual?

The most common reasons for a high bill are changes in water use and leaks. Did you do anything that would use more water than usual, such as outdoor watering or having house guests? Check for leaks. Typical culprits are running toilets, leaking outdoor spigots, and damaged sprinkler heads. You can use your water meter to help determine if you have a leak. The little red triangle on the meter dial is a flow indicator. Turn off all water-using fixtures and appliances inside and outside your home, then check the triangle. If it’s spinning, even slightly, that means water is going through the meter, and you probably have a leak. Keep searching or contact a plumber for help.

Why do water and sewer rates keep going up?

The primary driver of rate increases is the need to fund new and replacement infrastructure. Replacing aging infrastructure is necessary to maintain the level of service we all expect, but the cost is high. BCWS funds infrastructure primarily by issuing revenue bonds and adjusting rates to repay the debt. The cost of wide-scale infrastructure replacement and its impact on water and sewer rates is a challenge faced by utilities across the country.

Will I be charged for sewer while my home is under construction?

BCWS will waive the monthly sewer charge for new homes under construction until one of the following occurs:

  • Actual usage on your water meter exceeds 2,000 gallons
  • A certificate of occupancy is issued
  • The maximum time period of 4 months has passed.

 


Human Resources / Employment 
 

What is your hiring process?

We do not accept paper applications. If interested in applying for a position with BCWS, you will need to set up a personal account here.This will allow you to create an account or go to your account that you have already set up to apply for a position.  You will receive confirmation via e-mail that your application has been received.  As your application is processed, you will receive an updated status also via e-mail.

If called for an interview, please bring a copy of the following items with you:

  • Copy of Social Security Card
  • Copy of SC Drivers Licenses
  • (10) Ten year driving record for SC or any state that you have resided in for the past (10) ten years
  • Copy of G.E.D or HS Diploma and a copy of certificate/degree required for the position you are applying for at this time.


If you do not bring these required items to the interview, we will not be able to consider you for the position.

Do you accept resumes?

No. We only accept applications submitted through our online employment application system.

 

New Development – Water & Sewer Taps
 

How do I find out if my property is in BCWS' service area?

Please see our service area map.

How are connection and impact fees determined for new water and sewer projects?

Please see our tap and impact fee schedule by clicking the following links:

Water & Sewer Impact Fees - Residential and Commercial

Water & Sewer Connection Fees - Residential and Commercial

What are the costs associated with a new project?

Impact fees, tap fees, warranty fee, and bonds are all included in the cost for a new project.

How do I apply for a new residential or commercial water or sewer tap?

Please submit one of the following forms:

Commercial Building Sewer Application

Commercial Building Water Application

Residential Building Sewer Application

Residential Building Water Application

 

Purchasing / Vendors


May a vendor see copies of bids prior to award? If so, where?

Yes. A vendor may review copies of the bids received prior to award, after the bid opening. Contact the Purchasing Department to make an appointment.

What are the most frequently considered factors involved in determining a responsive bid and a responsible bidder?

A "responsive bid" is a bid that meets all the terms, conditions and specifications of the IFB. A "responsible bidder" is a bidder who has the financial resources, personnel, facilities, integrity, and overall capability to complete a particular Berkeley County Water & Sanitation’s contract successfully.

Can a stipulation of "all or none" on behalf of the vendor for his materials lead to a disqualification of the bid?

Yes, if it is in the best interest of Berkeley County Water & Sanitation to accept the "all or none" stipulation, the bid may be accepted for evaluation. However, if Berkeley County Water & Sanitation determines that the "all or none" stipulation is not in its best interest, the bid may be disqualified by the Purchasing Manager.

When is “resident preference” applicable?

The Berkeley County Supply Vendor Preference shall apply to IFB’s when purchases are $2,500 or more in value.  Construction Vendors Preference shall apply for purchases between $2,500 and $750,000.

May a vendor call and ask to review the contract file and request information about an award?

Yes, vendors may request to review files. To do so, contact the Purchasing Manager.

Who manages surplus property?

Surplus property is managed by the Purchasing Department.  Items are sold through GovDeals.Com.

I have a question about surplus property. Who should I talk to?

Questions concerning surplus property should be directed to the Purchasing Manager.

What should I do first if I wish to bid on Berkeley County Water and Sanitation’s business?

Contact the Purchasing Department and request a Vendor Application form. Complete and return to the Purchasing Department.

What happens if I can only bid on part of the items in an IFB?

You should bid on only those items you can provide. The Purchasing Manager has the option to decide, after bid evaluation, whether or not a bid-in-part is feasible for the BCWS. The individual bid will indicate whether the bid will be awarded on an individual line item basis or in the aggregate or combination thereof.

 
May I bid if I don't handle the brand listed on the IFB?

Yes, if the bid specified "a brand name or Berkeley County Water and Sanitation approved equal," you may offer an “alternative or equal" brand. "Or equal" products will be evaluated after bids are received, based on literature submitted and any required testing for the product.
 

Sewer


What is a “Smoke Test” on a sewer line and why do we do it?

The Waste Water Collection division of BCWS will periodically test the sewer system for inflow or infiltration. The most effective method is smoke testing. A powerful ventilator will introduce non-toxic smoke into the sanitary sewer system.  Smoke testing often reveals the source of fresh water inflow into the sanitary sewer system, problems on private property, problems inside the homes such as bad pipes and/or dry taps and illegal connections.

What causes sewer clogs / backups?

There are several causes of clogged sewers.  In our area, the main cause is roots that enter the joints of pipes or cracks in older pipes.  Roots seek water and often force their way through the cracked pipe.  Also, broken pipe may allow soil to enter and cause and issue.

Fats, Oils & Grease, or FOG, can build up in the sewer lines resulting in backups and overflows.  Sewer backups can create health hazards, damage property and threaten the environment.  Grease that is rinsed down kitchen sinks sticks to the inside of sewer pipes, both on your property and in BCWS’ main lines.  Over time, it builds up and eventually blocks the pipe.  Grease dissolving products may alleviate build up close to the drain, but that doesn’t mean the grease doesn’t end up somewhere down the line and cause problems.

Never pour grease down the drains! Scrape grease and scraps into a container or in the trash can for disposal. Garbage disposals don’t keep grease from sticking to pipes. Be sure to use strainers in sink drains to catch scraps and throw them away in a trash can.

Other items that are flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash, can also clog up sewer lines and result in backups and overflows. These items include:

  • Baby/Facial/Cleaning Wipes
  • Tampons
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Dental Floss
  • Hair
  • Cotton Swabs/Balls


To help prevent clogs, we recommend that you only flush the 3 P's - Pee, Poop and (toilet) Paper! Click here to learn more about What Not to Flush and FOG.

What are manholes and where are they located?

Manholes are access points for the main sewer lines. They are generally located every 400 feet; however, the distance may vary. They are typically located on right of ways and general utility easements. Manholes are not places for children to play.  Gases inside of manholes, such as methane and hydrogen sulfide or a lack of oxygen could cause death or permanent injury. If you see an un-secured or damaged manhole, please call BCWS immediately at (843) 719-2331.

What is a cleanout and where is it located?

A cleanout is an entry point into the sewer service that is used to clear obstructions in the line. A clean out cab be located inside or outside. BCWS maintains clean outs located in the public right of way (not on private property). However, the maintenance of a clean out on private property is the owner’s responsibility.

Solid Waste - Recycling

 

What items can be recycled in Berkeley County?

  • Mixed Paper, and Corrugated Cardboard can be recycled at any of the convenience centers or recycling drop off sites.
  • Aluminum and steel cans can be recycled at the convenience centers only

 

Is curbside recycling available in Berkeley County?
Yes.  Call Republic Services at (843)873-4810 to set up your account for weekly single-stream curbside service.  Recycling bins are available for purchase through Republic Services. 

What additional items are accepted at the nine Convenience Centers?
Used Motor Oil, filters, and bottles, Electronic-Scrap (E-scrap of TVs, computers, monitors, printers, up to 5 per day), White Goods (Appliances), Scrap Metal, Tires (up to 5 per day), and Lead acid & NiCad batteries.

Does Berkeley County have a paint recycling program?
Berkeley County does not have a paint recycling program. We recommend that unused paint be donated.  For disposal, paint must be hardened using a substance such as kitty litter or mortar mix before disposing into the regular trash. The landfill cannot accept any liquids.

Will Berkeley accept mixed oil & gas or antifreeze?
Mixed oil and gas are accepted at the Gravel Hill Road, Oakley Road, and Ranger Drive Convenience Centers.  Antifreeze is accepted at the Oakley Road and Gravel Hill Convenience Centers.

May businesses use Berkeley County Recycling Drop Off Sites or Convenience Centers?
Businesses may use the Recycling Drop Off sites only for recycling cardboard and other comingle recyclables.  Businesses are not allowed to use our nine residential Convenience Centers.

Does Berkeley County accept cooking oil?
Berkeley County does accept cooking oil.  Please filter out any particulates prior to recycling cooking oil in the GOFER oil containers at all of the Convenience Centers.

Does Berkeley County recycle batteries?
Residents may recycle Lead Acid batteries, which include automotive, marine and lawn mower batteries at the convenience centers.  We also recycle Nickel-cadmium batteries, which include rechargeable batteries from cordless phones, cell phone, cameras, laptops, and power tools. We do not recycle small household batteries, such as AA, AAA, C, D or 9-volt batteries.

What kinds of vehicles are prohibited from Berkeley County Convenience Centers?
Dump trucks, box trucks such as U-hauls, double-axle trailers, or trailers longer than 10 feet are prohibited. 

What are the hours of operations at the nine Convenience Centers?
Oakley Road is open Monday-Saturday 7AM-7PM and Sunday 3PM-7PM. All of the other sites are open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 7AM-7PM and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday 3PM-7PM.

Are there any additional resources concerning recycling in South Carolina?  For example: household hazardous waste, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), etc.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) may be an additional resource. Click here to visit their website.

 

Solid Waste - Scale house


During what hours is the landfill open?
Monday through Friday 7:30 am -4:30 pm and Saturday 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. It is closed in observance of the following holidays:

  • New year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

 

What does the Solid Waste User Fee (SWUF) on my tax bill pay for?
The Solid Waste User fee is established to assist solid waste in paying for any additional costs of financing the construction of, including reserve funds, and the operation and maintenance of the solid waste recycling and disposal system. If you have questions about your user fee charges you may call Alicia Jaworski at 843.719.4683

What is the charge for disposal of mobile homes?

  • Singlewide- flat fee of $384.00 (12 tons @ $32 per ton) if burnt, fee is $684.00 (12 tons @ $57 per ton)
  • Doublewide – flat fee of $768.00 (24 tons @ $32 per ton) if burnt, fee is $1,368 (24 tons @ $57 per ton)

 

What forms of payment are accepted at the scale house?

  • In state checks with copy of signee’s Driver’s License
  • Credit card payments (Visa or MasterCard)
  • Cash


Do Berkeley County Residents have to pay at the landfill to dump?
Berkeley County residents must pay tipping fees at gate to dispose of tires, boats, and special waste without any discount However, residents can dump all other materials (such as household garbage, yard debris, and construction debris) at residential centers for free.

Is there a charge for boat disposal?
Yes.  Boat disposal is $32 per ton.  There are no discounts allowed on the disposal of boats. All engines and gas lines must be removed from the boat prior to disposal.

Can you bring tires into the landfill as a Berkeley county resident with discount?
There are no discounts for tire disposal. Tipping fees are $107 per ton for passenger and truck tires and $190 per ton for skidder tires.

Who do I call if my trash is not being picked up properly?
If your curbside trash or commercial containers are not being picked up correctly you will need to contact the hauler of your trash pickup and contact our department at 843.719.4683 so you get billed correctly at end of year.

What are your Tipping Fee Rates?

  • Yard Debris $32/ton with 2 axles or less, 2 ton minimum for trucks over 2axles
  • Construction & Demolition (C&D) $32/ton with 2 axles or less, 2 ton minimum for trucks over 2axles
  • MSW $57/ton
  • Skidder tires - $190/ton
  • Truck tires - $107/ton
  • Car tires - $107/ton


What is considered special waste?

  • Burnt material
  • Deceased animals
  • Creosol poles/rail road ties
  • Anything containing lead base paint
  • Friable asbestos


If you are not sure if it is special waste you may call Solid Waste accounting manager at 843.719.4683

Is there someone to help unload my debris?
No, you will not receive assistance in unloading your debris. Also, if your vehicle becomes stuck you will be asked to sign a release of liability form and personnel can assist moving the vehicle.

Do Contractors have to pay if they are bringing debris from Berkeley County?
Absolutely, all contractors must pay the tipping fee at the gate upon departure of the landfill.
 

COMMERCIAL ONLY


How is my Solid Waste User Fee calculated?

  • Number of (like) containers   x   Size of the container   x  Frequency of pickups  x  % of  days  x $148.00
  • Examples below of expected charges for full year service.


Standard Commercial Containers:

# of Pickups/Week

1

2

3

4

5

6

Size of Container *

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 cy

 $      296.00

 $   592.00

 $     888.00

 $  1,184.00

 $  1,480.00

 $  1,776.00

4 cy

 $      592.00

 $1,184.00

 $  1,776.00

 $  2,368.00

 $  2,960.00

 $  3,552.00

6 cy

 $      888.00

 $1,776.00

 $  2,664.00

 $  3,552.00

 $  4,440.00

 $  5,328.00

8 cy

 $    1,184.00

 $2,368.00

 $  3,552.00

 $  4,736.00

 $  5,920.00

 $  7,104.00



How do I setup a commercial account at the landfill?
Contact the Solid Waste Accounting Manager Alicia Jaworski at 843.719.4683. Prepay accounts can be setup the day prior to landfill entry, you must populate account with funds before entering landfill.