The City is updated on capital projects

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LAURINBURG – At the first public meeting since 2020, Laurinbourg City Council heard about the process and completion of some of the water and sewer projects underway in the city.

Chuck Willis, of Willis Engineering, Inc., spoke to council about what has happened recently, from pump stations to sewer lines.

“A lot has happened and you have made some pretty significant improvements to your water and sewer system over the past year,” said Willis. “I wanted to share some of the ongoing projects, you’ve probably seen some under construction, and share a little history of the ones we’ve completed this year.”

Willis started with the most visible project underway, which was the improvement of the water plant distribution center which is located near the Scotland Memorial Hospital. Construction is for a new 20 inch water pipe coming out of the water plant.

“The distribution center project is the first phase of a two-part project,” said Willis. “Work in progress represents about 40% of this water line from the treatment plant to the reservoir on Caledonia Street. This replaces an old 20 inch asbestos line which is very problematic. This is the number one project in your capital improvement plan.

The project is currently ahead of schedule, according to Willis.

“The next project in the works is the renovation of several of the raw water wells that a contractor works for us,” said Willis. “He’s replacing wells number eight and nine with new wells and renovating well number six. He is also studying, at our request, new well sites… we are constantly trying to find more water as our wells get older, they produce less and less water. We are repairing and renewing and over the next few years you will likely need to expand your water supply system to have additional capacity.

Completed projects

Some of the completed projects were under budget, according to Willis. One of the projects includes improvements to pumping station 19 as well as improvements to a few other pumping stations.

“Pumping station 19 is the one on Elm Lane and we’ve installed an automatic screen to remove all the trash that goes down the sewer,” Willis said. “It’s very clean and much, much safer than what was there before… this contractor actually finished the job in April, he was a little ahead of schedule and finished the job under budget.”

Pumping stations 8, 12 and 13 were among the worst conditions but have now been renovated. The projects were completed in May, under budget, but were delayed due to supply issues.

“What we did at these pumping stations was replace all the mechanical equipment, refurbish the concrete well and we installed new electrical equipment,” Willis said. “We also installed generators to be able to power these pumping stations during thunderstorms or power outages, which unfortunately often happens in this part of the state.”

The last completed project was the sanitary sewer assessment, which was also under budget, but showed some areas for future repairs.

“We are constantly looking for areas of foreign water entering our sewer system,” said Willis. “It’s very difficult to determine where all of this is going. One of the techniques we use is to pump the smoke through the sewer system. We use non-toxic smoke that we can pump through the system… when we blow smoke into it, we see the smoke coming out of it so we can fix it and reduce the amount of water coming in.

Willis added that a camera is also being used to view the interior of the system to find cracks, which has made it possible to mark areas where it needs to be repaired.

Upcoming projects

The first of the projects is the second part of the distribution center project, the expansion of raw water and the continuous improvement of pumping stations.

“These are all projects on your CIP that got approved last year,” Willis said. “So this continues your usual type of work. “

Willis also shared the good news about phase two of the distribution system, which is that the state has approved 100% of the project for a loan with a budget of $ 4,515,000.

“This is a low interest rate loan, it is offered at half the bond rate at the time of the offer,” Willis said. “You don’t have to start making payments until construction is complete… it’s the best loan you can get as far as I’m concerned.”

Some of the other project budgets include $ 1,000,000 for the raw water well expansion program and $ 750,000 for the renovation of three pumping stations.

The largest source of seepage in the sanitary sewer assessment showed an area where a large amount of water enters.

“The Bridge Creek watershed and the College Park watershed,” said Willis. “They’re not that big, but they contribute more than half of the extraneous water that goes into the system… we have already renovated the Bridge Creek Pumping Station and the College Park Pumping Station in the last few years. years, because they were just beginning to wear out. . “

The project budget will be $ 8,951,000 and the state has granted the city $ 500,000 in principal rebate for the project, although the city is not eligible for grants due to the low rate structure.

“It’s great that we received this $ 13 million low interest loan, but I think we have to stress that these programs are funded by loans and grants,” said City Manager Charles Nichols. . “Where are the rates, we’re too low to receive the grant funding so it’s great these are projects that we wouldn’t be able to do without the help but in the future I think we gonna have to take a serious look at our water and sewer tariffs.

Join Katelin Gandee at [email protected]


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