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Spring Hope seeks funding for wastewater system upgrades
Spring Hope’s Board gave the go ahead for a preliminary engineering report that will be the starting point for major upgrades to the town’s 50-year-old wastewater treatment plant.

Kevin Varnell, an Engineer with Stocks Engineering, told board members that a preliminary engineering report would outline the things that needed to be done to the plant. He added that the plant has had no upgrades since it became operational.

“The current plant we have now is over 50 years old,” Varnell said. “It’s had no upgrades since it’s become operational other than typical maintenance”

Varnell said the Division of Water Quality was asking that the town upgrade the plant or at least provide a plan for upgrades to be done over the next few years. The first step in doing that would be to go forward with the preliminary engineering report.

Grant money would fund a majority of the upgrades, Town Manager John Holpe told board members.

“We’re talking about a pretty good size, about a million dollar, project,” Holpe said.

Holpe told board members there was a 50 percent grant available, which funded up to $500,000, leaving the town with having to come up with the remaining $500,000 for the match. Holpe said the USDA had a matching program available that would provide up to $350,000, which would leave the town with a $150,000 balance.

“So basically for about a million dollars, we’re looking at a good possibility of having to pay only $150,000, or finance $150,000,” Holpe said.

“We need some sort of upgrade at the plant,” Holpe added. “I’ve been holding off on it as long as I can.”

Board member said if the town were to grow, it would have to make improvements to its plant.

“In my view of what we’re doing, we don’t have any choice, if we’re going to develop or have developed that 82 acres.” Newkirk said. “We don’t have any choice if we plan on moving different business to that 82 acres.”

Late last year, Tands, Inc., which develops Bojangles, announced its intention to build on land on Highway 581. Tands purchased 82 acres of land but will only need an acre or two. The remaining will more than likely be sold to other businesses.

Varnell told board members if they were to move forward with the $1 million project, the plant would be able to hold between 500,000-600,000 gallons.

Board members unanimously voted to move forward with the preliminary engineering report and also to move forward with getting grant applications ready.

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