H2O update

Published 11:40 am Monday, March 26, 2018

JACKSON – Public Works Director Kirk Rogers presented another update on potential water service expansion options to the Northampton County Board of Commissioners here Monday. His information included a more in depth look at the water survey results received as well as options on how to move forward with the expansion project.

In December, surveys were sent out to citizens who were not currently being served by the county’s water system. Rogers reported that a total of 189 responses had been received.

The data was organized and then analyzed to determine which roads had the greatest number of potential users per mile. Those numbers varied anywhere from one user per mile to about 20 per mile. The length of the road and the number of houses on each road helped determine the number of potential connections.

One example Rogers mentioned was Mt. Carmel/Severn Road. Even though it was considered one of the most populated roads not currently connected to the water system with a total of 43 houses, it still only averaged approximately four users per mile.

A few of the roads, Rogers also explained, were previously considered for the last water phase update, but ultimately were not included.

Rogers compiled a list of the top 16 roads with the most potential connections per mile. He noted, however, that seven of those roads are currently being served by private water systems. Those roads would probably take lower priority than ones without a water system at all.

“You have roads that could work together,” Rogers went on to suggest, explaining that some roads in close proximity to each other could be connected by a system to increase the number of users per mile.

The Public Works Director stated he was already looking into several possible funding sources, adding that the USDA recommended having at least seven users per mile for funding. He reported they were also exploring financial options from the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Government and the NCDEQ Division of Water Infrastructure.

“The more we add,” he cautioned, “we’re going to probably have to look at adding wells and tanks, and also looking at agreements with local supply sources.”

Those local supplies could potentially come from nearby towns or neighboring counties. Rogers said he has already approached officials in Southampton County, VA to discuss the issue.

According to Rogers, if outside funding couldn’t be obtained, their next option would be to include the water expansion project into the county’s capital improvement plan.

He concluded his presentation with a promise to start developing priority roads to focus on. He said he hoped to have another draft of recommendations soon.

Commissioner Charles Tyner, who has continually pushed for county water improvements, was pleased with the information. He expressed optimism about moving forward, and he thanked Rogers as well as County Manager Kimberly Turner for their work on the project so far.

“Thank you for putting water on the agenda,” he remarked.