08/22/06 — Eureka gets $1M fo sewer overhaul

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Eureka gets $1M fo sewer overhaul

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on August 22, 2006 1:50 PM

The town of Eureka has been awarded nearly $1 million by a state trust fund to improve its sewer lines, Sen. John Kerr, D-Wayne, announced Monday.

The town will receive $923,000 in the form of a grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Kerr said.

Eureka officials said they are ready to make improvements to their aging sewer lines.

"We have a system that's not functioning well at all," said Myrtie Sauls, town commissioner and finance director. "We have gushes, drippers and runners in a large amount. We have problems with our manholes. We almost have a non-functioning system."

In 2004, Dr. Mike Acquesta, an engineer with Raleigh-based Pierson and Whitman, told Eureka's Board of Commissioners that the town had five damaged manholes, which were allowing rainwater to enter the system. He also said that two of the town's pump stations were not working properly.

By February 2005, sewer line problems had raised sewer bill rates so much, some residents had signed a petition asking to dissolve the town's charter, which some said would have provided a means by which the residents could get other government help to fix the sewer problems.

State legislators warned town residents that dissolving a charter was not the answer to the problem and advised them to continue to look for grants and other funding to fix Eureka's sewer lines.

Mrs. Sauls said last year that finding funding for sewer projects was a problem for Eureka.

Last March, Eureka officials conducted smoke testing last March to identify some of the problems in the sewer lines and to get a better idea of what the town's sewer needs are and what providing them will cost.

Now, with this grant, Mrs. Sauls said the town commissioners can fix the sewer problems that have been bothering residents for years.

"I'm hoping this will solve some of our problems," she said. "We could rehabilitate the sewer system or go with another system, but we haven't made a decision yet."

Although the town board is meeting tonight, Mrs. Sauls said she doesn't believe the commissioners will make an immediate decision on how the grant should be spent.

More than $58 million in water quality grants were awarded statewide by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees this month. Earlier this year, the General Assembly appropriated $100 million to the organization to help finance projects that enhance or restore degraded waters or improve water and sewer networks, Kerr said.