10/30/07 — Goldsboro obtains permit to temporarily fix flood structure

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Goldsboro obtains permit to temporarily fix flood structure

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 30, 2007 1:54 PM

Crisis nearly averted.

The 38 million gallons of water that were bypassing the city of Goldsboro's intake system daily will soon be back in action.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the city a permit to temporarily fix the flood control structure that was allowing the water to bypass the system.

The city has sandbagged around the area and plans to place a plastic membrane around the structure some time in the beginning of November, Goldsboro Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said -- all to stop the water from flowing where it shouldn't.

Corps of Engineers officials said the city wasn't technically losing any water.

"What they have lost is probably about 6 inches of water depth," said Greg Griffith, chief of geotechnical and environmental remediation.

And the Corps of Engineers didn't consider the structure to be failed either, just damaged.

"The top foot of it is impaired because of debris in the river," Griffith said. "It's not an accurate statement to say that it has failed."

These sort of structures are inspected every four years, he added, and the inspections have three rankings -- acceptable, minimally acceptable and unacceptable.

The Corps of Engineers last inspected the structure on Sept. 17, found it unacceptable and recommended repairs.

Goldsboro city officials asked Corps of Engineers officials to let them completely fix and redo the structure, but the agency would not allow them to do so since the structure is federally owned.

Mrs. Brashear said officials told her that they would have to replace it.

The problem is, the Corps of Engineers doesn't have the money to fix the problem.

Griffith expects funding for the design to come this year, but he said the construction funds might not be available until 2009.

"Generally, under these circumstances, money left over from last year is used for emergency funding. The funding request has gone up," he said. "We should hear back by December. It's out of our hands."

Because it is an emergency situation, Griffith said the process could be expedited.

As soon as the agency has funding authorization, officials can move toward creating plans and specifications to replace the structure, he said.

"The turnover process will be pretty quick once we get the funding," he said. "It will take a couple of days for the structure review, then the environmental reviews take longer."

Griffith understands the importance of the structure for the city and its water well-being.

"This is a rare situation, and it's a good time to replace it," he said.

Mrs. Brashear said the city has been working on other areas to help with the water and drought situations including the continued dredging around the water intake system to keep sand from entering the water.

In addition, the city has received a 60-day permit from the Corps of Engineers allowing emergency pumping. A pump transfers water directly from the Neuse River to the pre-sedimentation basin where it then goes to the water plant for treatment.

Mrs. Brashear has also been speaking with Wayne Water Districts and Fork Township Sanitary District about interconnections, and she said the city is in the process of getting fast-track permits for these connections from the state.