Washington receives $1.4 million for five utility projectsPublished 3:11pm Monday, September 16, 2013
The City of Washington received $1.4 million in a matching federal grant that will fund five major water and sewer utilities projects.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the department’s Economic Development Administration awarded $1.8 million in grants to support critical disaster recovery and resiliency efforts in Kentucky and North Carolina. The bulk of those grants, $1.4 million, was earmarked for Washington.
“These investments are examples of the Obama administration’s commitment to helping communities rebound and rebuild in the aftermath of natural disasters,” Pritzker said in a press release. “The EDA grants … will support the rebuilding of critical infrastructure crucial to future and sustained business growth and job creation across communities in Kentucky and North Carolina.”
The Mid-East Commission assisted the city in its grant proposal.
If Washington Public Works Director Allen Lewis had to prioritize the list, he could not do it. He said all projects are important to the city.
The list includes replacing the Water and Bonner streets pump station with a flood-proof wet well, standby emergency generator and auto-transfer switch. The current pump station is located at Festival Park.
“It looks completely out of place. But it’s been there 60 years,” Lewis said. “But it’s subject to flooding now. We’re going to relocate it slightly and make it flood-proof.”
The replacement will most likely be installed in the parking lot across from the park and look similar to the pump station in the Stewart Parkway parking lot behind Washington Jewelers.
Replacing the current pump station will reduce the chance of sewage spills during storm events.
The current pump station was built before 1950 and has no emergency back-up generator. During storms, the city shuts off power to the stations to prevent any damage if they should flood.
The second project is the installation of 3,800 feet of 16-inch diameter pipes that would transfer water from the city’s regional water treatment facility to city and some county water customers.
The grant would also cover the replacement of the current gaseous chlorine feed system at the regional water treatment plant with a safer liquid chlorine feed system.
“The gaseous chlorine feed system is supposed to be odorless, tasteless and very deadly. That’s the reason why we’re getting out of the business. We’re removing that from the liquid chlorine feed system,” Lewis said.
A new 700-square-foot building would be constructed to house the chemical feed equipment.
A fourth project would be the installation of an automatic transfer switch and 80 kW emergency standby generator at a city pump station that also serves the Beaufort County Industrial Park, which is owned by the city and county.
Bob Heuts, with Beaufort County’s economic development department, said the improved infrastructure would attract new businesses to the industrial park and allow it to accommodate larger businesses.
“Really, the bottom line is it helps create a redundancy in the system,” Heuts said. ”It really creates safety.”
The final project would be an emergency standby generator and automatic transfer switch at the regional wastewater treatment plant that would back up the second treatment train. It currently has no backup. During an emergency, the first train’s generator has to act as backup for the entire
Lewis said the city already has its $1.4 million to match the grant. The City Council will have to approve a grant agreement before funds are distributed. Lewis said the city might have to bid the project as one single project in order to meet the requirements of the grant. That would mean having to design and plan each portion of the project before proceeding.
Lewis was pleased to see the city would have the funding to take care of projects high on his priority list.
“It’s not quite Christmas because we have to pay for half of it. It’s a deeply discounted GMC truck. I don’t dare say Cadillac,” laughed Lewis. “My staff is going to sleep a lot better when it’s done.”