Tryon applies for $537,738 E. Howard sewer grant

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Town required to match $164k

Things are looking up for some residents of East Howard Street in Tryon who for years have suffered sewage spilling in their yards and homes during heavy rains.
Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Sept. 3 and held a public hearing and approved applying for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for infrastructure from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
The town has been discussing the grant since January with the town initially being denied due to lack of funding. State officials, however, received a waiver due to the critical need and environmental concern of Tryon’s problems and it looks positive that funding will be available.
Paula Kempton, with the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) who is administering the application and grant for Tryon, attended Tuesday’s meeting and said the state is working with the project as an environmental concern due to the town working with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the process.
The grant will include $537,738 with Tryon having to contribute  another $164,169 for a total project of $701,907.
The town is being required to pay for part of the project because the state is requiring the East Howard Street main sewer line be replaced with a 24-inch sewer line in order to handle the flows and the grant only allows for construction of lines up to 12 inches.
Tryon’s $164,169 includes funding to pay for the oversized line required by the state as well as a required five-percent local match to the grant.
Town officials discussed where its portion would come from with a few options possible. Then interim town manager Joey Davis said the town could take out a low-interest loan, look for another grant to fund the match or take the money out of the town’s budget, particularly from a one-percent increase in the enterprise fund that is being reserved for capital improvements.
Tryon hired new permanent town manager Caitlin Martin on Tuesday following the grant decision.
Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples said the town has done everything it can do concerning the problems with the East Howard Street sewer line. He mentioned inflow and infiltration studies and smoke testing the town has done and said the town knows once it gets to the East Howard line it backs up.
“Some of these pipes were put in the ground 50, 60, 70 years ago,” Peoples said.  “This is 1,000 feet (of pipe) we won’t have to worry about again.”
Tryon has dealt with problems with the pipe overflowing for a few years with one resident coming to town meetings asking Tryon to do something about sewage flowing in her yard and home during heavy rains.
Representatives from Habitat for Humanity attended Tuesday’s public hearing to urge the town to apply for the grant. Habitat owns property in the area and a representative said one property was destroyed from sewage and Habitat is hesitant to occupy the residence until the problem is fixed.
The town has completed small fixes to the problem following fines from the state but the town has not had the money to replace the pipe.
“If funded the town plans to use the funds for a critical upgrade to their sewer collection system,” said Kempton in a memo. “This will include paying for (a) 24-inch Dip sewer line, sanitary sewer manhole, tie to existing sewer and rock excavation. The old collection system presents problems with infiltration and inflow that can negatively impact a wastewater treatment plant and at this time has created an environmental concern for specific areas in the Eastside Community. This sewer trunk line replacement project will address those environmental concerns.”
The grant application is due next week.

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