CDBG funds sought for sewer project

Published 9:05 am Tuesday, April 8, 2014

JACKSON – A long overdue upgrade to the Garysburg Sewer District will seek funding from the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the application process to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The county will seek $2.2 million in CDBG funding for the replacement of 9,000 linear feet of force main line along a stretch of US 301/US 158 that connects the Garysburg Sewer District with the Town of Weldon where the wastewater is treated.

The project also includes upgrades to five wastewater pump stations, the complete reconstruction of one pump station, and other ancillary improvements.

According to the information provided to the commissioners, the Garysburg Sewer District is owned by the county and managed by the Northampton County Public Works Department.

“Many of the wastewater force main lines in the system were installed 40 or more years ago and are currently failing due to their age,” said Northampton County Economic Development Director Gary Brown in presenting the plan to the commissioners. “This is particularly true of the wastewater force main along US 158/US 301.”

Jason Morris, the county’s Public Works Director, said the deterioration of the sewer lines became more apparent during recent work performed by the Town of Weldon.

“They struck our line and here’s what we saw,” said Morris as he presented photos to the commissioners for their viewing. “As you can see our line is in pretty bad shape.”

Brown noted that the original estimate for the project came in at $1.8 million. However, that did not take into account the sewer line currently attached to the side of the Weldon Bridge over the Roanoke River. Brown said that NCDOT no longer allows the installation of water/sewer lines on bridges they maintain.

“For that reason, the project needed an additional $400,000 to cover the cost of a directional bore into the river’s bed in order for that line to reach Weldon,” Brown said.

Commissioner Fannie Greene questioned that part of the project, saying she was under the impression that since the existing sewer line was already in place along the bridge, wasn’t it simply a matter of replacing the old one with a new one?

“We’re not adding another (sewer) line; just replacing the one already there,” Greene stressed. “Shouldn’t we be grandfathered in (by DOT)?”

Brown said he had posed that scenario to DOT, but had yet to hear a response, adding that it would save $400,000 if a new pipe could be hung to replace the old one.

Additionally, Brown mentioned the competitive nature of these types of grants.

“Our funding application would be considered in a competitive ratings/award process along with other projects submitted statewide,” he said.

He also assured there would be no county funds involved in the project, if awarded.

“We anticipate the $2.2 million in CDBG funds will cover all the costs associated with this project,” Brown said.

The commissioners then approved a resolution that authorized an application to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources that seeks funds from the Economic Infrastructure Grants Program, and authorized appropriate county staff to execute all the documents associated with the project’s funding.

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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