City, town working on Chocowinity sewage proposal

Published 8:16 pm Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By Staff
Chocowinity seeks more capacity from Washington
Contributing Editor
Washington is considering selling Chocowinity additional wastewater-treatment capacity in its sewage-treatment plant, but it’s going to cost Chocowinity about $12 a gallon, if not more.
A recently completed study of Chocowinity’s sewer system indicates the town will need to purchase about 146,000 gallons per day additional wastewater-treatment capacity in the city’s wastewater-treatment plant to accommodate several new residential and commercial developments in the near future, including a new industrial park, according to a memorandum from City Manager James C. Smith to Mayor Judy Meier Jennette and the City Council. Chocowinity likely will need to purchase an additional 686,000 gallons per day of wastewater-treatment capacity in the city’s wastewater-treatment plant over the next 20 years, according to the memorandum.
The study update referred to in the memorandum concerns a 2003 study of Washington’s wastewater-treatment system and expected demands on that system in the future.
The mayor and council members said they want to further study the city’s wastewater-treatment capacity, current and future, to better determine what, if anything, the city will be able to do to help Chocowinity. They want to make sure the city has enough capacity remaining at its wastewater-treatment plant to meet the city’s needs during the next several years.
The city has been asked to provide wastewater-treatment services to development projects at Carver Machine Works, Whichard’s Beach, Griffin’s Beach, Tranter’s Creek RV Park, Moss Landing, Somerset and several industrial customers with reserved capacity that are not yet using their full allocations.
The city has been treating wastewater from Chocowinity since 1988. The city has sold capacity in its wastewater-treatment plant six times from 1988 to 2002. The $981,000 the town paid the city for wastewater-treatment services was used by the city to hold down sewer rates and/or transferred to the general fund to hold down taxes, according to the memorandum.
The city is using from two million gallons to 2.2 million gallons per day of its plant’s 3.65 million gallons daily capacity.
At 80 percent capacity, the city is required to begin engineering studies for the next phase of expanding its wastewater-treatment plant or building a new one. The city can increase its capacity by 950,000 gallons a day by expanding its existing treatment plant.