Bath working to expand wastewater service

Published 6:30 am Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Town of Bath is working to increase water and sewer capacity, because the town is presently operating “near capacity,” according to Town Manager Bubs Carson. 

The town is working to collect funding to use for an expansion of water and sewer services so that additional hookups can be provided and to allow for future development.

In March of this year, Bath received two $150,000 Asset Inventory and Assessment Grants from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to address wastewater projects. The town also received $5 million from the state budget for sewer improvements, per a report from the Daily News. 

Carson noted Bath’s geographic location which is confined by natural barriers like Bath Creek. These barriers restrict how much the small municipality can grow, their wastewater system included. 

“This has been going on for several years,” Carson said. The town has made multiple improvements over the years; however, its wastewater system is more than 20 years old. 

Carson said “several years ago” the state “alerted” the town to its existing wastewater system which was operating near its capacity. This meant the town needed to begin searching for alternative ways to improve its wastewater system. He said the town has completed studies and is considering possible partnerships with surrounding areas.

The town’s original capacity was 40,000 gallons per day, but their permitted capacity as of now is an estimated 22,500 gallons per day, according to Carson. 

“40,000 was our goal for years and that’s what we’re hopefully trying to get to,” he said. 

Recent construction in Bath has taken place at lots large enough to get permission from Beaufort County Environmental Health to place private septic tanks. 

In the last decade many new homes built in Bath use a private septic system, Carson said. 

“We’ve had growth, but we have been somewhat restricted, because we’ve not been able to provide wastewater to some of the smaller lots that might be unable to have a private septic tank installed,” Carson added. 

Carson said its town council’s desire to be able to provide wastewater service to any person building a home or business in town. How long it will take before everyone can be served has not been determined.

Costs of construction materials have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic which means the town needs to collect more funding than originally planned two years ago. Carson said the town will need to raise at least another $5 million or more for a total project cost between $10 to $15 million. Once the funds are collected it will take an estimated two years to expand wastewater service.