05/26/04 — Mount Olive sewer money arrives just in time

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Mount Olive sewer money arrives just in time

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 26, 2004 2:01 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A check arrived Tuesday for $2.45 million to begin building a regional sewer system in the Mount Olive area.

Mount Olive's bond counsel has sold the $2.45 million bond-anticipation notes to Southern Bank, and Mount Olive Town Attorney Carroll Turner was anxiously awaiting the check.

This is the first draw on up to $4 million the town will use to start paying for the sewer system upgrade and expansion to Calypso. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded another $4 million grant to finish the job.

Turner said the check arrived "just in the nick of time," because he was hoping to close on an option to buy the first 108 acres of the 328.6 acres the town board has been eyeing to use to spray the treated effluent from the system. The option officially expires June 1, but Turner says he's coordinating the closing date with the owner, who is not bothered by the deadline.

The town plans to use the 328.6 acres for spray and drip fields. The fields of crops and trees will absorb the nitrogen from the effluent before it reaches the waterways. The town has an option on two of the three farms already, and negotiations for the third will start soon, he said.

The first farm is a hog farm, and the other two have crops on them.

The town will shut down the hog operation, which is close to the city limits. The lagoons will be cleaned out and re-lined, says Turner. They will hold the treated water and the results from excessive rainfalls.

The second farm under option is 112 acres next to the first one. Turner says he is scheduled to close on the second farm, which is next to the first one, by July 1. But with the money coming this week, he says it might be sooner.

"I think we've been real fortunate to get land in Wayne County," he said, "and to get land that adjoins the wastewater treatment plant."

"We're on target," added Turner, "and so far, we're on budget."

After all three farms are bought, town officials will sit down again with engineers and study all the results from the soil tests to decide if any more land is needed.

"We need real thirsty soil," he says. The treated water will be used to spray non-edible crops or to drip water onto a tree farm.

Town officials have looked at both, and Turner says, "The board is totally sold on the tree farm."