01/03/07 — Eureka awards sewer repair bids; work to start soon

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Eureka awards sewer repair bids; work to start soon

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 3, 2007 1:54 PM

EUREKA -- The Eureka Town Board awarded $864,000 in contracts Tuesday night to repair its ailing sewer system.

Board members voted unanimously to give the contracts to T.A. Loving Co. of Goldsboro and Water and Waste Systems Construction of Raleigh.

Work is expected to start by the end of the month.

T.A. Loving will repair leaking sewer lines for $689,000, and Water and Waste Systems will do improvements at the Baker Street Pump Station for $175,000.

The town board awarded bids on the recommendation of the Wooten Company, an engineering firm in Raleigh. The company has been helping town officials figure out how to deal with the system's leaks, which have pushed sewer costs through the roof in recent months.

The board members said they were shocked at the $19,000 wastewater treatment bill from the town of Fremont, which was included in their agenda packets. The previous month's bill was for $17,000.

"Nineteen thousand dollars!" Mayor Steve Howell said. "It didn't even rain that much this month."

Because of leaks in the system, the town has been sending three times the 20,000 gallons that would normally be expected for a town with only 114 sewer customers for treatment. The town board members were used to paying $3,500 a month to Fremont for its wastewater treatment in 2005.

The leaks, termed "gushers" by the engineer, seem to have grown worse, town board member Wayne Taylor said.

The state has helped get the town as far as it has come now.

The town has $200,000 available from the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, which distributes grant money for public works projects around the state. The state's Clean Water Management Trust Fund has also awarded the town a $923,000 grant to help remedy the situation.

Altogether the town has about $1.2 million to work with, including $115,000 that was left over from previous work on the system. But board members are continuing to look for other funding sources to help pay for further improvements. They have conceded that the two repair projects will not completely correct the town sewer problems.

Board member Myrtie Sauls said she met with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, and he seemed interested in helping.

"I just asked for federal aid. He didn't say no. He said he didn't know how we were doing it."

She said Jones promised to look into the matter and see what could be done about finding federal money to help the town get through its sewer crisis.

"He said, 'How do you get anybody to run for office down there?' I said it's all write-ins, and eventually somebody takes (the job)."