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With wastewater project, there’s no time to waste

BY PORTSIA SMITH

Despite being short $64,000, the Caroline County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move forward with the second phase of the Dawn Wastewater project. 

Phase II would connect 29 additional homes in the southern part of Caroline, primarily along Gregory and Concord roads, to the county wastewater treatment plant.

 Project consultant Eldon James said $533,206 was available to start construction for the second phase of the project. That’s $118,000 short of their lowest bid of $651,375 by Franklin Mechanical.

 At the Jan 8 meeting, James said the county had secured $10,000 from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, which aims to improve the quality of life for low-income communities, and $5,000 from the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation.

 Also, by removing a $30,000 spare pump, which James said is not essential to the project, the gap had been closed to $73,000.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, James said they have been able to secure $9,000 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and were working on four other sources.

“We’ve done pretty well in just a few weeks,” he said.

Now that he has approval from the county board, James said he’s sure he can raise the remaining $64,000 before the end of the six-month contract period.

James said he  may apply for other small grants with help from the Dawn Progressive Association. The association’s nonprofit status could improve chances of winning grants that the county government may not be eligible to receive alone.

 If the money cannot be raised, James said an alternative could be to eliminate the last 2,200 feet of mainline pipe, which would lower the number of homes connected from 29 to 24. That would lower the bid of the project to about $522,875.

 Reedy Church District Supervisor Reggie Underwood, who represents the Dawn area, said he will not be satisfied unless all of the 29 homes are served.

“You know my concerns,” Underwood said. “I’ll be happy with 100 percent, but not 99.9.”

James said he is up for the challenge.

Phase I connected 180 residences and businesses to the county wastewater treatment system and was completed in 2009.

 Some of those homes had never had indoor plumbing.

As part of Phase I, the county provided service to 19 families that had no disposal systems and were using portable toilets.

Service was also provided for free to 91 low- to moderate-income families through a combination of grants.

All users now pay a $25 monthly utility fee to help cover maintenance costs. Based on the rules of the agencies that could provide federal stimulus funding, that fee could increase to about $32 a month after Phase II starts.

Portsia Smith:  540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

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