East Howard sewer line work could begin December/January

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, November 26, 2013

by Leah Justice

Plans are moving forward for Tryon’s East Howard Street sewer line replacement to begin in either December or January to relieve wastewater overflows during heavy rains.

Tryon Town Council met Nov. 19 and heard from commissioner Roy Miller who said bids and permitting are scheduled for mid-November. Miller said everything is on track and he expects ground breaking on the sewer line to be in December or the first of January.

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Engineer Jonathan Hollifield, with Watermark Engineering, PA said he met with public works director Joel Burrell last week regarding the preliminary design and decided to make a few changes to make the design better from a construction/maintenance standpoint. Hollifield said he is revising the design now and hopes to have the design completed next week. At that point, the plans will be sent to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for review and the town can also advertise for construction bids.

Tryon has dealt with wastewater overflowing in the East Howard Street area for years and earlier this year moved resident Eunice Whitmire out of her home due to frequent issues with wastewater backing up into her yard and for years into her home. Tryon was approved for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help pay for the costs of a new, larger line there earlier this year.

The total project is expected to be $701,907 with $537,738 coming from the CDBG funding and $164,169 coming from the town. The town is being required to pay for part of the project because the state is requiring the main sewer line to 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 has fought the problem for many years with the issues coming during heavy rains. Tryon has conducted studies, worked with DENR and suffered several fines from the state because of spills and overflows. The town and state finally determined the only permanent fix is to replace the line with a larger line. Tryon was initially denied for the CDBG funding last year, but state officials later received a waiver because of Tryon’s critical need.

Whitmire began complaining a few years ago about sewage backing up into her home and yard. The town worked on several fixes, including a back flow meter to stop wastewater from coming into her home, but Whitmire said during heavy rains she couldn’t use her water and sewage still flowed into her yard. Whitmire eventually came to town council with an attorney, who threatened to sue the town. After conducting soil and air samples at Whitmire’s home and finding bacteria, Tryon agreed to rent

Whitmire a house until the new sewer line is complete and her home is determined to be safe.