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Commissioners approve extending waterlines to Dukeville residents

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners have approved waterline extensions for the Dukeville area.

The vote was unanimous at Tuesday’s meeting.

The vote included approval of three task orders. Task order No. 2, totaling $54,800, included the development of a county-owned and managed water and sewer utility system by McGill Associates, an engineering firm.

Task order No. 3, totaling $389,900, included the bidding and construction phase for the preliminary water and sewer utility system design and the design, bidding, award and construction phase for six more separate waterline extensions.

Task order No. 4, totaling $34,000, included the start of infrastructure planning for water and sewer on the I-85 South corridor.

The first task was started in February and was for a preliminary waterline routing study, preliminary engineering report, route surveying, waterline design and about 6,800 linear feet of water main along Long Ferry Road beginning at a Salisbury/Rowan Utilities line and ending just east of the intersection of Dukeville Road.

The total cost of construction is estimated to be about $4.8 million, not including engineering fees and oversight costs.

The new water system could provide safe drinking water to Dukeville-area residents who have been using bottled water since state regulators declared their well water unsafe to drink in 2015, after finding high levels of some metals that may be associated with coal-ash ponds at Duke Energy’s nearby Buck Steam Station.

The commissioners set aside $300,000 in the fiscal year 2016-17 budget for engineering for water services, but the total cost of the task orders comes to about $480,000.

Chairman Greg Edds said that partnerships may develop to help pay for the project, but a budget amendment to cover the cost was required.

The commissioners approved a budget amendment to designate $180,000 from the fund balance for the project with the motion to approve the task orders.

Edds said no agreements have been made with Duke Energy and both entities are waiting to see what happens with a bill that would require Duke Energy to pay the entire cost of the waterline extensions. Both houses of the state legislature have passed the bill.

Edds said the commissioners believed they needed to move forward.

“In the meantime, we feel it prudent to move ahead in our planning stage because … this is an issue that likely the residents would not want to delay us making plans,” he said.

County Manager Aaron Church explained that governmental rules and regulations that county staff has to work through have caused the delay.

“I can assure you, if it was up to the Board of Commissioners, this would have been done a long, long time ago,” he said.

Commissioner Craig Pierce said the petition signed by 70 residents requesting water actually helped move the project forward because it proved that there were customers.

“Once you sent in your petition with the signup sheet of those 70-plus families, it gave us what we needed to complete the financial piece to move this along even further,” he said.

Edds said the petition allowed the planning and engineering departments to map out where the water lines needed to be placed.

“It gave us a roadmap as to where the water needed to go,” he said.

Church said the next vote on the project will be to accept a bid.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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