Town may have found money to fix wastewater treatment plant woes

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A big step forward and light at the end of the tunnel are two factors that have surfaced in the Town of Mount Olive’s intensive search to remedy the problems at its ailing wastewater treatment facility.

The good news surfaced at a special called meeting of the town board of commissioners.

Town Manager Charles Brown told the Tribune there are currently five agencies working to secure the $5 million needed to finance fixing a variety of problems at the ailing treatment plant facility.

“We are extremely confident about our chances in securing these funds,” he said.

The town manager said at this point he cannot disclose any further details about the funding agencies.

He said if all falls into place the project should be ready to go to bid a year from now.

The town’s share in the expense to make needed repairs and replacements will still be about 10 percent of the total cost.

When Mr. Brown broke the news in a special called meeting of the town board, the board immediately voted unanimously to employ the engineering firm of Withers-Ravenel to do a preliminary engineering report on a rehabilitation project for the Mount Olive Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“It is going to be a $5.5 million project, give or take, and at this point in time I had rather not provide funding specifics, but we do have commitments for funding that will allow us to do that,” Mr. Brown said.

He said the commitment will provide the funds needed to fix the plants problems “once and for all.”

“It will take the plant up to its original design capacity for handling two million gallons daily,” Mr. Brown said.

He went on to explain it will involve removing some 96,000 trees planted years ago in the facility’s tree farm and replacing it all with a hay crop and a new irrigation system, as well as allow for addressing design and construction issues in the plant itself.

“This will fix that plant the way it should have been fixed in 2008 and allow us to operate. We will then be able to handle expansions of the Mount Olive Pickle Plant, growth at the University of Mount Olive, and housing growth in the years to come,” Mr. Brown explained.

“This is a huge step forward for the Town of Mount Olive,” explained the town manager.

He also told the Tribune by the year of 2021 “all of these fixes should be in place and the plant up and running as it should be.”

Brown said the just-employed engineering firm is already on site.

He said the town has worked with them before and they are aware of the problems at the plant.

“This is certainly a breath of fresh air for the Town of Mount Olive and I applaud everyone who had a part in it,” Mr. Brown said.

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