03/12/11 — Fremont tests new wastewater spray field

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Fremont tests new wastewater spray field

By Gary Popp
Published in News on March 12, 2011 11:27 PM

FREMONT -- Fremont officials conducted an initial test Wednesday on a new waste water management system that is expected to save the town nearly $115,000 a year.

The new system includes a 43-acre spray field that absorbs treated sewage water that is sprayed from about 350 spray heads spread throughout the field.

The use of the spray field means Fremont will be sending less sewage to Goldsboro for treatment -- and cutting its bills.

"The town of Fremont could not continue to pay the sewer costs the town of Goldsboro was charging," Fremont Town Administrator Kerry Mc-Duffie said. "This is really helping the town economically to become more self-sufficient in our operations."

McDuffie explained that Goldsboro charges $5.49 per 1,000 gallons to treat the waste water sent from Fremont.

"Fremont sent 99,000,000 gallons of sewage to the city of Goldsboro last year," McDuffie said. "That cost us $504,000 last budget year."

The spray system is limited by the amount of land available and the absorption capacity of the soil in the field.

"We are still going to have send some (sewage) to Goldsboro, but it is going to be a significant savings," McDuffie said.

The spray field can absorb approximately 91,000 gallons a day, McDuffie said.

"Basically, 91,000 gallons a day at $5.49 per 1,000 gallons will save us about $495 a day," he said.

Fremont is looking at nearly $180,000 a year in savings, minus annual operational costs of around $70,000.

The cost to get the overall project operational was $960,000, McDuffie said.

But because of grant money, the taxpayers of Fremont will be paying for only a fraction of that amount.

McDuffie said the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center is providing $500,000 and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources is paying $313,000.

"We are taking out a total of $158,000 in loans," McDuffie said.

McDuffie said discussion about construction of a spray field began in 2008. After receiving proper permits and finding a suitable contractor, construction of the system began last summer.

The field requires a buffer zone that makes the entire field 77 acres. Adjacent to the 77-acre tract are two lagoons, each with approximately 13,000,000 gallons of sewage water. The lagoons process the waste for about 300 days before it is mixed with chlorine and sprayed onto the field.

The field has been seeded with Bermuda grass seed. The grass will assist in the absorption of the spray and can produce hay for animal consumption.

While Fremont officials have not received the official go-ahead from state officials, initial testing went without incident.

"So far, it looks like a success," McDuffie said.