Ahoskie seeks millions in state funds

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

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AHOSKIE – Town officials here are seeking over $4 million in state funding in an effort to repair its aging wastewater infrastructure.

In a unanimous vote at its regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 13, the Ahoskie Town Council adopted three resolutions that will be submitted as part of their grant application, which is due for submission to the state no later than Sept. 30.

One of those resolutions notes that the town “has a need for and intends to construct, plan for, or construct a study in a project described as an Asset and Inventory Assessment of the town’s wastewater collection system.”

Another resolution covers the actual work needed for the rehabilitation or replacement of the wastewater collection system as described in the assessment.

In August, the Ahoskie Town Council approved a contract with The Wooten Company, an engineering firm, to perform a limited scope asset management plan. At last week’s meeting, Will Larson, an engineer with Wooten, gave the Council members the results of the company’s work as well as a game plan moving forward into the funding cycle, which includes grant opportunities at the state level.

The asset management plan includes several documents: an inventory of the town’s wastewater infrastructure, and the condition of those assets (manholes, pump stations, force mains, the treatment facility and the reclaimed water facility).

“This establishes the framework for a more in-depth study in the future while still positioning the town for funding opportunities now,” Larson said in explaining the limited scope of work performed with this particular study.

Funding opportunities, he said, are through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The town previously received ARPA funds for a water asset management plan. The focus now shifts to the wastewater plan, with grant applications due by the end of September.

The scope of The Wooten Company’s work included inspections of all 32 of the town’s sewer pump stations. Larson said four of those are in bad condition (#1 and #5 only had one pump operational; a large amount of rainwater infiltration was noted at #4; and large amounts of trash and deterioration was discovered at #25).

He stressed that rainwater infiltration drives up the town’s treatment costs.

“The goal is to get all that non-billable water out of your system, leaving you with capacity for your paying customers,” Larson said.

The other 28 pump stations were found to be in fair or good condition.

“That speaks highly of your staff’s ability to keep the system in good operating order,” he noted.

Wooten’s work also included a sample inspection of 25 of the town’s 850 sewer manholes. That small sample, taken in different parts of the town, was due to the limited scope of the plan. A camera, which offers a 360 degree view, was used for those inspections.

Larson said rainwater/groundwater infiltration was discovered at nine of those manholes; seven were found with silt and debris buildup; six had obstructed channels; and one manhole was surcharged (the camera could not see the bottom due to high amount of wastewater).

He noted a few issues at the wastewater treatment plant, to include the need for headworks improvements, the need of a new bar screen, and the need of two new pumps and motors. The latter, he stressed, is “an urgent matter.”

As for funding to address all the issues discovered through the limited scope of work, Larson recommended the town seek grants for the following:

Full scale wastewater asset management plan and inventory assessment ($400,000); and

Wastewater system improvements ($4 million).

The latter includes the rehabilitation/replacement of 9,000 linear feet of gravity sewer lines; rehabilitation/replacement of 20 manholes; and headworks improvements at the treatment plant.

Larson noted that the full scale plan will provide the “prep work for future projects.”

“Being a distressed community you are eligible for 100 percent grant funding,” Larson stated.

With that, the Town Council, on a motion from Charles Freeman and a second by David Hunt, approved three resolutions to be used for their grant application. The first of those resolutions was the adoption of the asset management plan and Capital Improvement Plan.






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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