Although the town had sought a $3 million grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Town Administrator Stuart Turille said that the $2.17 million will go a long way in moving local sewer improvements forward. He added that out of about 180 grant applications received by the Trust Fund, only 25 grants were awarded.
The St. Pauls grant will be used specifically for sewer repair and rehabilitation, Turille said.
“With this grant we will be able to address infiltration problems and make improvements to the whole (sewer) system,” he said. “The flow will be better, there will be less smell, and there will be no manhole overflows. Overall storm drainage will improve and there will be less stress on the treatment plant.”
Turille said that the grant will also provide money to dig up and replace some old sewer lines, as well as provide for new monitoring equipment that will make the pump station operate more efficiently.
Turille recently told members of the town’s Board of Commissioners that state Sen. David Weinstein has confirmed that the grant money is a sure thing. There had been some concern, Turille said, that the grant might be jeopardized by an across the board 5 percent reduction in state department budgets.
Work funded by the grant is most likely not to begin until sometime in the spring, Turille said. To improve the town’s overall water and sewer systems, he said, the town is also hoping to be awarded a grant from the N.C. Rural Center to replace and repair water lines.
“We have to stop breaks (in the lines),” Turille said. “We have a lot of loss of treated water going to homes.”
The administrator also said that the town doesn’t want to have to raise taxes to cover the expense of operating and maintaining an old deteriorating water and sewer system.
“We need a more efficient system,” he said.