05/19/04 — Fremont to work with Eureka on sewer overcharges

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Fremont to work with Eureka on sewer overcharges

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 19, 2004 2:03 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont town officials will work with Eureka to find out why Eureka's sewer bill is three times higher than its meter shows.

Dr. Mike Acquesta, the contracted engineer for both towns, had told the Eureka town board that the flow meters in Eureka were accurate within 10 percent of each other. But Fremont's meters were showing that Eureka was pumping three times more than it actually was.

Eureka had threatened to disconnect from the new line that also extends from Fremont to Goldsboro.

Fremont's retiring town administrator, Tom Barnes, read a letter during Tuesday night's town board meeting in which Eureka officials say they will not disconnect from the line. But, the letter said, Eureka will put two valves on the system so that some sewage can be diverted to its lagoon until the problem is solved. Barnes said the state will allow the diversion.

In the meantime, Acquesta will meet with Fremont and Eureka officials next week and with a representative from the meter manufacturer to determine the problem.

Ray Lancaster, a former Eureka town commissioner, had said Fremont was showing that Eureka was pumping 70,000 gallons per day for several months, but it should have been only 15,000 a day. The meters will be checked daily, officials said.

Fremont is having the same problem with its line to Goldsboro. Alderman W.T. Smith said Goldsboro's meters showed 500,000 gallons more than Fremont's meters.

The Fremont board also met in closed session with Barnes, Acquesta and Town Attorney Jean Hollowell about its bill with Peters and White, the Virginia-based contractor that built the sewer line to Goldsboro. No action was taken.

Peters and White was awarded the job on a low bid of about $2.1 million but finished the project about a year late. The company is contesting a $500-a-day late penalty in the contract.

The other portions of the $3.7 million project -- the line to Eureka and in-town sewer repairs -- were completed before the June 2002 deadline.