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Water expansion still underway in Northampton

JACKSON – The planned Phase Six water system improvements in Northampton County are still progressing forward, according to an update from Northampton County Public Works Director Kirk Rogers here at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Oct. 7.

Rogers reported that the Environmental Scoping Document had been completed, and work had already begun on the Environmental Report. Additionally, the preparation for the Preliminary Engineering Report is about 20 percent completed.

The commissioners approved in June an agreement for Rivers & Associates to complete that work, which could take up to six months to finish. The engineering and environmental reports are necessary to apply for USDA funding. At a previous meeting, the total estimated cost for the expansion project will be approximately $4.5 million.

Rogers explained that their funding application would be submitted after all of the reports were completed.

A joint meeting with USDA and Northampton County officials is scheduled for next week, which Rogers said is “an initial kickoff meeting for the project” and would hopefully help them establish an estimated timeline for the water service expansion.

Rogers noted that Rivers & Associates was also continuing work on the county’s Asset Inventory Assessment with 749 of 2700 structures already identified for mapping work so far. Though the inventory project is separate from water expansion project, Rogers said the information received would be beneficial for the expansion as well as any future projects.

“We started this endeavor back in January, and we’ve come a long ways. I do appreciate all your support,” Rogers concluded his update.

Board Chair Charles Tyner stressed that water expansion is a priority. Previously, he said he hoped to make sure more than 90 percent of county residents had access to the county water system.

Many of the roads proposed for the project are located in the northeastern corner of the county in the vicinity of Severn, Pendleton, and Conway areas. Other roads include two at Lake Gaston and one near Pleasant Hill.