Spring Hope gets $840,000 grant for sewer rehab

By Amanda Clark, Graphic Staff Writer

SPRING HOPE – The Town of Spring Hope could soon see improvements to its water and sewer systems after the board received word it had received a $840,000 grant from the Cleanwater Management Trust Fund. And, last Tuesday night, the board approved a contract for phase two of its water line replacement project.

The Cleanwater Management Trust Fund grant is for a wastewater improvement project. The town will contribute $100,000 to the $840,000 grant. The project will include sewer rehabilitation to camera out the lines to see what needs to be replaced. Manholes will also be replaced and repairs will be made at sewer liftstations.

Town Manager John Holpe said the town received a letter stating it had received the grant but it had not received the agreement to sign yet. Holpe said the town doesn’t meet the average water and sewer bill required for the grant and there may be a chance that the town will have to raise its rates in order to get the grant.

“There’s a possibility we might need to increase our water rates to receive the grant,” Holpe said. “I don’t know that to be a fact yet.”

A free water and sewer study was presented to the town in May that explained how the town could generate the additional revenue needed to meet the Cleanwater Trust Fund grant requirements and also help with the expenses of the projects.

Dean Byrd, of the Rural Water Association, performed the free water and sewer study for the town. The study proposed charging an availability fee, or a fee just for being able to use the service. The town’s current water rates are $15 for 3,000 gallons and $2.50 for each additional 1,000 gallons. The sewer charge is $6.25 for 1,000 gallons.

Under the new proposal, all customers would be charged $5.53 for water, regardless of how much water used. An additional $3.78 would be charged per thousand. So for a customer that uses 3,000 gallons, $16.87 would be charged, an increase of $1.87.

The proposed sewer rate would be $5.80 to have the service available with a $4.98 charge per 1,000 gallons.

Spring Hope’s Board also approved awarded a contract to Chuck Braswell for phase two of a water line replacement project. The $52,000 project will replace two-inch lateral lines with six-inch lines from the meter to the mainline. Lines will be replaced around Nash Street and North Walnut Street and cover the northeast quadrant of the town.

Holpe said the lines are being replaced because of water quality issues.

“We’ve been getting a lot of complaints about discolored water in the past,” Holpe said. “By doing away with those two-inch lines, we should have a little bit of quality.”

Holpe said the town later plans to apply for additional grants from USDA to do additional water improvements to its water system.

“We’re trying to take a good look and improve our water and sewer infrastructure,” he said.