Septic system help may be on the way

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

JACKSON – A pending grant may come to the aid of 27 residences along Lebanon Church Road.

Having identified 19 failed individual private septic systems, nine with straight pipe discharges, the Northampton County Public Works Department has made plans to submit an application for funds to improve wastewater services.

After conducting a public hearing earlier last week on the matter, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners gave the Public Works Department the green light to proceed with its attempt to secure $750,000 in funds from a Community Development Block Grant to cover the cost of rehabilitating existing county-owned wastewater facilities while making treatment of wastewater more centralized.

The project, which would include the elimination of the 27 tanks currently serving residences located along SR 1200, near the intersection of NC Highway 45 about 3,000 feet west of the Interstate 95 and Highway 46 interchange, would prevent the deteriorating systems from posing a threat to the environment and human health.

&uot;Discharges of black and gray water have been documented by Environmental Health and a section of our own health department,&uot; said Northampton County Public Works Director Andy Crew during the meeting.

&uot;The existing pump station is being overloaded during peak flow and it can’t process the additional flow without rehabilitation,&uot; he said.

If approved by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance, the project would provide a public sanitary sewer system owned and operated by Northampton County to serve customers in the project area.

Currently, the county operates under an interlocal agreement with Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District Treatment plant in Weldon.

&uot;Fortunately, this segment was concentrated enough to meet the requirements of the grant,&uot; Crew said. &uot;And if we get it, it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything because the funds would cover 100 percent of project needs.&uot;

Design and construction to complete the sewer updates, which are subject to approval by the Division of Water Quality of the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (NCDENR) are estimated at $718,000.

Permits from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will be required to build sewer mains/services across Lebanon Church Road (SR 1200) and NC Highway 46, along with approval from the Land Quality Section of the Division of Environmental Management, NCDENR before bids for the project can be received.

In addition to serving the 27 residences, the improvements will benefit existing commercial businesses in the area.

&uot;We’d be getting the best of both worlds,&uot; Crew said. &uot;This is a great opportunity and we need to take advantage it. It’s a big ticket item.&uot;

Crew credited the county’s 21st Century Community designation for saving the taxpayers $750,000 should the grant be awarded.

&uot;I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making,&uot; said Commissioner Fannie Greene. &uot;It’s certainly overdue.&uot;

Once implemented, the structure will support itself through operation as an enterprise system.