West Fraser wastewater expansion moving forward

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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JACKSON – The Northampton Commissioners approved a contract here at their Jan. 6 meeting that will help the West Fraser Sanitary Sewer Extension project proceed. Franklin Williams, the county’s Economic Development Coordinator, presented the information to the Board.

“The concept was to run a wastewater line from West Fraser, and let the wastewater run all the way to the Seaboard plant,” Williams explained about the project which was originally proposed in 2013 but did not come to fruition.

The project was restarted again in 2019, and the county was awarded a $568,769 grant from the NC Department of Commerce to complete it. Several entities are involved in the project, but Northampton County is responsible for constructing a pump station and installing a line to connect to Seaboard’s wastewater treatment system.

“We can do it at no cost to the county because we’ve received (that) grant,” Williams said.

After putting out bids for the necessary construction work, Ralph Hodge Construction made the lowest one at a cost of $399,985. Williams noted that this total was originally about $13,000 higher, but was able to be reduced due to the available electrical infrastructure at the site.

Currently the timber plant, which is located on Highway 186 just east of Seaboard, hauls wastewater to Roanoke Rapids to be processed. Connecting the facility to Seaboard’s wastewater treatment system would be beneficial to the company’s plans to expand.

“West Fraser is planning a $30 million expansion, and this will help them,” reported Board Chair Charles Tyner, who noted that would bring more employment opportunities and more tax revenue to the county.

Tyner also thanked Williams for his work on coordinating the project.

Commissioner Kelvin Edwards motioned to approve the bid, which was seconded by Commissioner Nicole Boone. Following that unanimous vote of approval, Commissioner Geneva Faulkner then motioned to give County Manager Charles Jackson authorization to execute construction contracts for the project and to act as the fiscal agent. Boone seconded that motion as well, and the vote was again unanimously in favor.

“This is another positive move for this great Northampton County,” Tyner concluded.