Water system improvements move forward

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WINTON – In 1962 the first pipes were laid to serve the original 70 customers of the Millennium Water Association.

Now, more than 50 years later and with nearly 300 customers, those lines are showing their age.

With that in mind, a project is currently in the works to make nearly $1 million in improvements to the Millennium water distribution system.

At last week’s meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, the first of two required public hearings was held in advance of an effort by county officials to apply for grant funds from the NC Small Cities CDBG program to foot the bill for much-needed improvements to the Millennium Water Association.

Leo Green of Green Engineering of Wilson was chosen to guide the county through the CDBG application process as he was the engineer in the 1960’s when Millennium laid its first pipes for the water district.

“He is very familiar with that system,” said Hertford County Public Works Director Mike Bradley.

Green said the current pot of money from CDBG has approximately $25 million available for such projects. To make an application on behalf of Millennium, Hertford County local government is required to hold two public hearings. The second one, which will be more specific, was approved by the commissioners to be held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 7 at their next board meeting. That will give Green and his firm plenty of time to meet a May 1 deadline of making the application for the next round of CDBG funding.

The County Manager and the County Board of Commissioners are well aware that the Millennium Water Association is in need of an elevated water storage tank to serve the 290 customers connected to that system.

“The Millennium area will be very competitive for this grant in terms of both need and income,” Green noted. “That service area has a cumulative 52 percent low and moderate income populace, which qualifies them for the grant. This project is not something they would like to have; it’s something they have to have.”

The project will involve the erection of a 100,000 gallon elevated water storage tank, approximately 16,000 linear feet of six-inch water main, and 17 fire hydrants. Preliminary cost estimates for the improvements, complete with all technical services and grant administration, is $985,000.

“It will be a complete renovation of the current system,” Green noted. “This is a 100 percent grant; no money is being requested from the county to match anything.”

Green said he felt Millennium stands a good chance to earn the grant based on the family income of the system’s customer base as well as the severity of need.

“That system is under good management; they work very closely with the county,” he added.

If the project is funded the county will receive a grant agreement in June and can then immediately move forward to procure management and engineering services. The project can be put out for bid early next year with construction expected in the spring/summer of 2015.

Mike Vaughan, President of the Millennium Water Association, addressed the project during public comments.

“I do appreciate the commissioners’ willingness to help us on this project,” Vaughan stated. “Our main tank is now beginning to leak. We’re now in a position where we’ve got to do something. This project will work out great for us if approved. It will be great for our citizens.”

The last improvements made to the Millennium Water Association were performed 30 years ago (1984). The first pipes for the system were laid in 1962 for the original 70 members of the Association. They are still in the ground and are in need of replacement.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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