City Council approves $1.5 million sewer project

  • Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:15 a.m.

SALISBURY — The city will shut down a problem waste water treatment plant and build a new $1.5 million sewage pumping station with help from a state grant and the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

The Second Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant serves two customers — West Rowan Middle School and Magna Composites. City Council on Tuesday awarded a $1.1 million contract to Buckeye Construction Co. to replace the plant with a lift station and pipeline that will pump waste water to another Salisbury-Rowan Utilities facility.

Closing the treatment plant will save the city up to $34,000 a year in maintenance and operation costs, utilities Director Jim Behmer said.

The school system will contribute $200,000 to the project, and the city landed one of 12 $600,000 state grants in June from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The trust fund chose the project because closing the plant will eliminate discharge into Second Creek, which the state categorizes as “impaired.”

The city’s share of the plant replacement project is $697,000.

Originally, Magna was also going to contribute $200,000 to the project, but the company pulled out of the partnership.

Magna has started recycling some water used in plant processes, which has reduced discharge to the Second Creek plant, Behmer said. While Magna was regularly violating its discharge limit in 2011 — the company is allowed to send 12,000 gallons of waste water a day to the plant, or about half the plant’s capacity — Magna hasn’t violated its limit since February 2012, Behmer said.

Magna also pulled out because the company did not qualify for a Community Development Block Grant, which would have provided the $200,000 contribution to the project, Behmer said.

The grant requires job creation, and Magna could not commit to creating multiple new full-time positions, said Robert Van Geons, executive director for the Rowan Economic Development Commission. The company’s employment has held steady at about 300 employees since 2011, Van Geons said.

Without Magna, the city is still able to afford the project because Buckeye Construction’s bid came in $320,000 less than the engineer’s estimate, Behmer said.

The project will not require a water-sewer rate increase, he said, and the city will pay for its share with operational savings. Payback for the project will take 14 years, Behmer said.

Construction should start in March and end in September.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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