FOIA Requests

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 1976 and grants all citizens of South Carolina the right to attend government meetings and to examine and copy certain public records. Charleston Water System embraces the tenets set forth in the FOIA and is committed to following both the letter and spirit of this law.

Making a Request


All requests for records, other than those that are routinely made available for public inspection during business hours, should be made in writing in one of the following ways:

Online Form
Complete the Request for Public Records Form

Mail
FOIA Request
Charleston Water System
PO Box B
Charleston, SC 29402

Email
williamstw@charlestoncpw.com

Fax
(843) 579-6744

Hand Delivery
Charleston Water System
103 St. Philip Street
Charleston, SC 29403

Responding to FOIA requests


Upon written request for records, Charleston Water System shall within ten days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt of the request, notify the person making the request of its determination and the reasons for it; provided, however, that if the record is more than twenty-four months old at the date the request is made, twenty days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt is allowed to make this notification.

If the request is granted, the record will be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no later than thirty calendar days from the date on which the final determination was provided, unless the record is more than twenty-four months old, in which case the record will be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no later than thirty-five calendar days from the date on which the final determination was provided.

If written notification of the determination by Charleston Water System as to the availability of the requested public record is neither mailed, electronically transmitted, nor personally delivered to the person requesting the document within the time set forth by this section, the request must be considered approved as to nonexempt records or information. Exemptions from disclosure as set forth in Section 30-4-40 or by other state or federal laws are not waived by the public body's failure to respond as set forth in this subsection. The various response, determination, and production deadlines provided by this subsection are subject to extension by written mutual agreement of the public body and the requesting party at issue, and this agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Fees, Deposits, Waivers


Under the S.C. FOIA, public bodies may establish and collect reasonable fees not to exceed the actual cost of the search, retrieval, redaction, and copying of records. Charleston Water System's fees are levied in order to recover the direct costs of search, review, duplication and administrative overhead costs.

Documents may be furnished when appropriate without charge or at a reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the information can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public. Fees may not be charged for examination and review to determine if the documents are subject to disclosure.

Schedule of Fees

   • Search/Retrieval/Redaction: $25.00/hour
   • Copies/Scans: $0.25/page or at Charleston Water System’s direct cost if performed by an outside vendor.
   • CDs: $1.00/each
   • There is no copy/scan fee for records in electronic format, although there may be fees for search/retrieval/redaction of records in electronic format.
   • Fees may be waived if the total fee is less than 25.00.
   • A deposit of 25% of the estimated total fee may be required before Charleston Water System begins search, retrieval and redaction of records.*
   • All fees must be paid in full prior to delivery of the records.

*If a deposit is required, the record will be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no later than thirty calendar days from the date on which the deposit is received, unless the records are more than twenty-four months old, in which case the record will be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no later than thirty-five calendar days from the date on which the deposit was received to fulfill the request. The full amount of the total cost must be paid at the time of the production of the request.



Records available for public inspection


There are certain records that are open to public inspection during normal business hours just for the asking. These records are considered routinely available, and they include our Board Meeting Minutes for the preceding six months, administrative staff manuals, and policies.

Exempt Records


While many Charleston Water System records are accessible through the S.C. FOIA, there are certain records that are not open to the general public. These are referred to as exempt records. Matters specifically exempt from disclosure can be found in S.C. Code of Laws, Section 30-4-40.

Personal Information
Pursuant to the S.C. Family Privacy Protection Act, S.C. Code of Laws, Section 30-2-50, a person or private entity shall not knowingly obtain or use personal information obtained from the City for commercial solicitation directed to any person in this State. All persons making FOIA requests to Charleston Water System are hereby notified that all persons obtaining or using public records for commercial solicitation directed to any person in this state is prohibited. A person knowingly violating the provisions of Section 30-2-50 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars or imprisoned for a term not to exceed one year, or both."

Questions?


Contact Terry Williams, Charleston Water System Records Manager.