Our Purchasing department is responsible for issuing bids and purchase orders for all goods and services above $500.

If you sell a commodity or service and your prices and service are competitive, chances are you can do business with us. We purchase more than $25 million worth of products and services each year, ranging from chemicals to pipes and fittings, and we are continuously looking for good vendors to supply those items.

Charleston Water System has received the Outstanding Agency Accreditation Achievement Award from the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing.

2015 W-9

Download our 2019 W-9 form (PDF)

The Purchasing Process

We solicit bids and proposals through formal and informal procedures. Formal procedures are used when the estimated value of the purchase is estimated to be $10,000 or greater. Informal procedures are used when the estimated value of the purchase is less than $10,000.

Formal Procedures

Formal procedures require solicitation by an Invitation for Bid (IFB) or a Request for Proposals (RFP), which may be advertised in The Post and Courier newspaper and the S.C. Business Opportunities (SCEBO) publication at least 14 days prior to the date offers are due. Direct solicitation documents are mailed to vendors on the Vendor List for the item sought, and Dodge Reports if applicable.

Informal Procedures

Offers on informal (small) purchases are solicited by mail, fax or telephone from a minimum of three vendors on the Vendor List. Informal purchases do not require public advertising. Generally, the informal bid process from solicitation to the opening of offers takes from one to seven days. The evaluation and award process may take up to three additional days.

Qualified Products Lists (QPLs)

Bidding on some products purchased by the Purchasing department is limited to vendors whose products are listed on our Qualified Products Lists (QPLs) for those items.

A QPL is a form of specification in which various brands are acceptable products by brand names, model number, or whatever designation is necessary for precise identification. Vendors may submit products for consideration for inclusion on the QPL at any time. For additional information and a listing of the items covered by QPLs, contact the Purchasing department.