Funds flow to project

Published 11:46 pm Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beaufort County has been awarded $6 million in loans and grants that will enable the county to expand its drinking water treatment plant near Chocowinity and provide additional treated water to its customers north of the river.
Faced with a growing number of customers for drinking water and limited supplies of that water, county leaders had been searching for a way to provide more potable water to its customers.
The county has been awarded $4.8 million in grants and $1.2 million in loans at a zero percent interest rate from the Public Water Supply Section of the N.C. Drinking Water State revolving fund.
The approval was announced last week at a meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners by Van Lewis, an engineer with McDavid Associates Inc., the company that is overseeing the project.
In addition to increasing the capacity of the Chocowinity treatment plant at a cost of about $1.495 million, about $3 million in funds will be used to build a pipeline to supply about 600,000 gallons of drinking water per day to customers north of the river, according to project plans.
The county has seen nearly a 16-percent increase in the number of its drinking-water customers since 2005, with 12,037 customers getting their drinking water from the county in 2011 as compared with 10,394 customers in 2005, according to county figures.
Most of the increase has come from 1,177 new customers, or an increase of about 17 percent, on the north side of the Pamlico River in county water districts that are supplied drinking water from the city’s drinking-water plant.
That trend was expected to continue throughout this year, county leaders have said.
Besides providing additional drinking water to the county’s customers, the project also addresses concerns that county leaders have expressed about serving its customers from a single source — a treatment plant operated by the City of Washington — that could be interrupted by a disaster.
And some of the increased supply could be sent to customers in Richland Township, should that district’s drinking water supply be interrupted by a disaster, Lewis told the commissioners.
The project will also help the city extend the life of its treatment plant by reducing demand on that plant, the commissioners have been told.
Final designs on the project are under way and the county could seek bids for its construction in as soon as nine months, Lewis said.