11/09/08 — Mount Olive receives $717,000 state grant to fix town's sewers

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Mount Olive receives $717,000 state grant to fix town's sewers

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 9, 2008 9:27 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Officials are hopeful a $717,000 Clean Water Management Trust Grant the town has been awarded will help correct problems that have plagued the town's sewer system for decades.

The money will be used to repair holes in the system lines, to realign and rehabilitate manholes and to replace two lift stations.

The town also applied for, but did not receive, funding to install a force main. That line would run from near the old Burlington Industries building on N.C. 55 just west of town to the new wastewater treatment plan east of town.

Town officials say the force main is needed to relieve a bottleneck in the system. Currently, all of the wastewater feeds through a line that runs through downtown.

The new force main would help alleviate stress on the line.

The town plans to reapply for funding for the project.

"The money we got is probably better at this point in this current economy because we can do the real emergency problems, the things causing such a problem with inflow and infiltration of our system," Town Manager Charles Brown said. "We can deal with that money now, and we are eligible to reapply for money for the force main."

The problem with the sewer system is that many lines are old and crumbling. Some of the oldest are made of a material almost like tarpaper.

The cracked lines are allowing groundwater to infiltrate the sewer system. Inflow occurs when storm water enters the system. Once the water is in the lines it has to be treated, placing a costly overload on the treatment system.

In some cases the increased volume has resulted in sewer spills.

The town has suffered 38 sewer overflows since March 2002, releasing 4.1 million gallons of raw sewage -- 3.3 million gallons of which reached state surface waters such as ditches and streams.

When contamination happens, the town faces possible state penalties often running into thousands of dollars.