01/08/10 — Fremont firms plans for spray field

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Fremont firms plans for spray field

By Laura Collins
Published in News on January 8, 2010 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont is taking the next step toward hopefully lowering the town's sewer costs.

Officials recently received a permit from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to construct and operate a spray irrigation treatment and disposal facility on Davis Mill Road on the northeast side of town. The spray field would lower the amount of sewage sent to the Goldsboro treatment plant.

Previously, the town signed a contract with the city of Goldsboro which allowed it to send 600,000 gallons per day to the city. The town built a line to pump sewer from Fremont to Goldsboro and began pumping in January 2003.

"The problem with that is it didn't fix the rain water that was getting into the sewer. We were paying for all this rain water to be treated," Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said.

The town was collecting about $30,000 a month for sewer fees, but was paying out much more to Goldsboro. The town is charged $5.25 per 1,000 gallons of sewer. In December, the bill included more than 300,000 gallons per day.

Recent repairs to the sewer lines in the town helped with some of the rain water that is getting into the sewers, but McDuffie said the town is "not nearly" where it needs to be. He said the town sells about 100,000 gallons of water per day, so it should only have about 100,000 gallons of sewer per day.

"If we can treat some of that ourselves, we can reduce our cost," he said.

According to Coleen Sullins, director of the state division of water quality, the town's spray field is permitted for 91,000 gallons per day. The field is about 77 acres, but only about 43.5 acres can be used after the appropriate distance from surrounding property is deducted. The two lagoon ponds hold a total of 27 million gallons.

McDuffie estimates the spray field will save the town $174,000 per year. The cost of hiring an employee and operating the facility will be about $68,000 per year, and the cost to build the facility, including adding pipes, motors and other equipment, will be about $25,000 per year. That leaves the town with an annual $81,000 savings.

"If we can save $80,000 a year, we will eventually be able to reduce the cost to our citizens for sewer," McDuffie said. "If we can continue working on our sewer lines, we would have 100,000 gallons a day of sewer with 91,000 going to our spray field, we'd have very little going to Goldsboro, and that's what we really want."

It will likely be October before the town will start using the spray field. McDuffie said officials plan to start accepting bids for the project this month and will award a bid in February. He expects construction to start in April and to last six months.