Tryon says Columbus should pump sewage to Tryon

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tryon officials said this week that Columbus would save money by pumping its sewer to Tryon for treatment.

Tryon council mentioned Tuesday that it would be interested in treating Columbus sewer. Tryon is facing a shortfall of more than $40,000 next year in its sewer department.

Columbus recently agreed to apply for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and loan to upgrade its aged sewer plant, but will not be committed to the upgrades until the USDA comes back to the town with a proposal. Columbus upgrade project has been estimated at about $3.6 million, with part of that being loaned and another portion granted from the USDA.

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Tryon officials roughly estimated Tuesday that Columbus could save considerably by pumping its sewer to Tryon for treatment. That joint effort could also save Tryon money because it would spread the costs of running the sewer plant over a larger customer base.

Approximately two miles separate Columbus sewer lines at the Polk County Library and Tryons lines at the former Grover plant in Lynn. Tryon Public Works Director Joel Burrell says two pumps would most likely be needed with each pump costing about $100,000. Those costs plus the costs of the sewer pipe connecting the two systems could be $1 to $1.5 million, Tryon council roughly estimated.

Tryon currently treats between 400,000 and 500,000 gallons per day at its sewer plant. The plants capacity is to treat 1.5 million gallons per day.

Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree added that Columbus abandoning its sewer plant and having one less state permit would be attractive to the state for future funding for upgrades.

Council directed Hembree to get some actual costs to discuss the option with Columbus.

Joint sewer operations between Tryon and Columbus could be one topic next Tuesday during a joint meeting that Polk County, Columbus, Saluda and Tryon have scheduled. The meeting will be at Columbus Town Hall at 7 p.m.