Work would bring city into compliance with state permit

Havelock is looking at an estimated $2.3 million expense to help bring the city’s water treatment plant into compliance with a state permit.

Havelock commissioners voted during their meeting Monday night to hire the engineering firm of Rivers and Associates for $380,000. The money will come from retained earnings from the city’s water fund.

Bill Ebron, director of Havelock Public Services, said a June 2014 permit requires the city to change the process by which it handles backwash solids, which is the undrinkable water and minerals that are extracted as the city obtains drinkable water from an underground aquifer.

“Engineering is required to come in and help us to design and build the specific attributes to the plant and additions to the plant so that we will be able to meet those new permit requirements,” Ebron said.

The new additions to the water plant will be used to treat the undrinkable water before its released back into the environment. Those additions include a settling basin and drying beds that will filter solids and minerals from the water.

“That way whatever we’re discharging to the environment will be filtered and cleaned,” Ebron said.

The new basin and drying beds will be located behind the old Fleet Reserve building near the corner of Webb and Brown boulevards.

“We don’t even have the preliminary plans yet,” Ebron said. “Part of what Rivers and Associates has been assigned is to look at future growth and to make sure that what we’re installing not only will answer today’s problem but will also make sure we’re in a good position for the future, and to perform a land-use analysis to make sure we have room for future plant growth as well.”

The entire project cost for the basin and drying beds is estimated at $2.3 million. Ebron said the cost would be financed through a loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Though the city could wait until as late as 2017 to start construction, Ebron said that would not be the case.

“We’re going to be marching along because right now the water plant is teeter-tottering right on being in compliance to being out of compliance, so we’re right on the brink,” he said. “As we communicate with the state, we have to show our due diligence to correct the situation that we’re in.”

In other action Monday night, commissioners approved a resolution to request a no wake zone for a portion of Slocum Creek.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has the ultimate decision on whether to put what equates to a speed limit on boats traveling in an area of about 1,000 feet of the creek extending north from the boat ramp near U.S. 70. With a new kayak launch coming as part of the city’s Slocum Creek Recreation Area, city officials believe the zone is necessary for the safety of kayakers and boaters who may be traveling in the same areas of the relatively narrow creek.

If approved by the wildlife commission, the city would be responsible for paying for signage and buoys associated with the no wake zone. Those costs are estimated at $1,639.