11/14/06 — Commissioners consider plan for water/sewer lines

View Archive

Commissioners consider plan for water/sewer lines

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 14, 2006 1:45 PM

With officials agreeing that the Kenansville Bypass presents one of the county's best opportunities for economic development, the Duplin County Board of Commission-ers began weighing the feasibility of running water and sewer lines down the eight-mile stretch.

Listening to the results of an infrastructure study done by consulting engineering firm McDavid Associates of Farmville, the commissioners approved the application of $650,000 worth of grants from the N.C. Department of Commerce at a recent meeting.

If granted, the funds will help pay for the running of water lines to a new 20-acre industrial park, which will include the new Carolina East Homecare and Hospice Center near the intersection of N.C. 11 and N.C. 24.

Each application is for $325,000 -- the entire cost of the project.

Because the county's water system is already nearby, McDavid engineer Tyndall Lewis said, it makes sense for the county to run the water.

The sewer lines, however, are a different story. Those must be run by the town of Kenansville.

To pay for that, the town also has applied for two grants from the state commerce department -- both for $500,000. Later it will apply for a $200,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Center. The total cost of running sewer lines is $1,062,500.

"We're just going to two pots of money for the same project, hoping to get one of two," said Woody Brinson, executive director of Duplin's economic development commission. "But maybe we'll get lucky and get both."

But this industrial park, officials said, is just the first step in developing the bypass.

There are seven total intersections involved in the bypass -- U.S. 40, Leonard Rich Road, N.C. 11, D.S. Williamson Road, N.C. 50, N.C. 24 and N.C. 11/903 -- few of which have existing water and sewer access.

"We see it happening on a case-by-case basis as need arises," Lewis said. "From a water standpoint, we're in pretty good shape. But sewer is a very, very expensive commodity and funding opportunities are so few, we're in for a very long haul to provide sewer to these intersections."

What the county can do right now, he continued, is to begin planning how it wants the bypass to grow -- securing easements, cooperating with Magnolia and Kenansville on water and sewer lines and looking at zoning issues.

The trick, though, Lewis said, will be getting firm commitments from new businesses and industries to help secure grant money to provide the necessary infrastructure.

"It's going to be a very aggressive undertaking but it's going to take some time and it's going to be difficult. If we are able to provide service to some of these intersections in the next three to 10 years, then I think we're doing good," he said.