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The City of Florence received a Municipal Achievement Award for its regional wastewater facility. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's 74th Annual Meeting on July 12. The city won in the public works category. Twenty-six cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.

In 2004, Florence officials recognized the city's wastewater treatment plant was nearing the end of its service life. Although it had received multiple upgrades during its 50-year existence, the plant was inefficient and outdated, as well as prone to permit compliance issues. Florence officials also needed to increase the plant's capacity to support commercial and industrial growth.
The city established the Pee Dee Regional Water and Sewer Steering Committee made up of area water and wastewater providers. Florence formed partnerships with surrounding municipalities, counties and regional septic haulers. They now utilize Florence's expanded treatment capacity, resulting in efficient delivery of wastewater treatment services throughout the region.
Instead of constructing a new facility, officials decided to build a new 22 million gallon-per-day plant on the existing plant's site. City officials were committed to constructing the new plant in a socially responsible way, giving consideration to improving the quality of life, resource allocation and educational opportunities for Florence residents.
Florence's partnership with the school district and ScienceSouth, a science education program, led to adding an educational component within the facility's environmental laboratory. This educates students on real-world applications of the science of wastewater management.
"Florence has demonstrated that wastewater treatment facilities, appropriately designed, can coexist with surrounding land uses and substantially benefit the community without compromising its ability to meet the city's wastewater treatment needs," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.