The need for additional sewer capacity in eastern Davie County has created roadblocks to commercial and residential growth for many years, but this limitation is coming to an end, thanks to the persistence of county leadership and a $2 million Economic Development Administration grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In the works for more than two years, the grant provides partial funding for an overhaul and expansion of the wastewater system increasing capacity from 750,000 gallons per day to 2,000,000 gallons per day with a contractual agreement with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County – City/County Utility Commission (CCUC) for 5,000,000 gallons per day. This will enhance the county’s ability to work with Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center and others to grow the economy and spark future development.
The project is also expected to create at least 187 jobs, and spur $23 million in private investment.
“The purpose of this project is to expand the capacity of our wastewater treatment system in a way that protects the environment, and provides the capacity for responsible growth,” said County Manager, John Eller. “This additional infrastructure capacity will support sustainable long-term growth in the county for both residential and commercial development.”
“We are already a leader in the Piedmont Region, and in North Carolina, as it relates to job growth,” Eller said. “This project will allow us to further our strategic plan goals and to be intentional as we look to the future.”
Eller added that he appreciated the many hours of work that was put into the planning and execution by multiple partners, which ultimately led to the successful grant request.
According to the grant request, the proposed project was necessitated by several factors related to the North Eastern Davie Sewer Area (NEDSA). The eastern Davie wastewater collection system currently discharges into the Tanglewood Pump Station which is owned and operated by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County – City/County Utility Commission (CCUC). The needs of the NEDSA are increasing as the area is poised for growth and CCUC has only approved a short-term agreement for additional capacity at which point a significant fee will be charged to Davie County for CCUC upgrade expenses. The waste flow projections for the NEDSA are projected to increase by about 9% from residential, commercial and industrial growth from 2019 to 2040. This projected growth in demand cannot be appropriately accommodated with the current system.
An agreement has been reached with CCUC whereby if Davie County constructs a pipeline to the Muddy Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, CCUC will no longer charge the county twice the rate paid by those inside the area for waste conveyance.
Furthermore, the Town of Bermuda Run currently owns and operates an aged package treatment facility that discharges into the Yadkin River. The state is currently developing new effluent limits governing nutrient discharge for facilities upstream of High Rock Lake that will require the plant to be expanded and its processes rebuilt. The cost for the Town of Bermuda Run to either pump to CCUC or upgrade its plant was estimated to be approximately 3 times more expensive than for it to participate in the NEDSA project; therefore, the efforts can be combined, and a project has been developed to address the needs of both Davie County and the Town of Bermuda Run.
According to Davie County Utilities Director, Johnny Lambert, the estimated cost of the project is $17,625,200 and includes the following specific improvements:
The county has been approved for a 20-year state revolving fund loan with an interest rate of 1.5 percent to fund the balance of the project. The expected cost saving of $4.9 million in conveyance fees over the loan period will be applied to paying off the loan.
Lambert said the new sewer collection system is slated to begin construction in February 2019 and should be completed in December 2020. The county has begun advertising the project and will begin accepting bids on October 17th, 2018.
Davie County Commissioner Chairman, Terry Renegar, noted, “The NEDSA project is a proactive step for anticipated residential and commercial growth in Davie County in the coming years. I appreciate all that our county staff, elected officials, economic development partners, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, State of North Carolina, Federal Economic Development Administration, and other key stakeholders have done to make this vision a reality.”