CURRITUCK — Currituck County may be forced — at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars — to bring a mothballed wastewater treatment plant in Moyock temporarily back to life.
County Manager Ben Stikeleather told the Currituck Board of Commissioners earlier this week that expansion of the Moyock regional wastewater treatment plant just south of the Virginia border is running six months behind schedule.
The expansion, designed to increase the plant’s 100,000-gallons-a-day capacity to 300,000 gallons a day, was supposed to be finished by Jan. 2, 2021. However, the completion date has now been pushed back to at least May 2021. The cost of the expansion is around $8 million but the county received a $1 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation for the project.
The delay poses a problem for several businesses that were told the expansion would make wastewater service available to them at the end of the year.
Stikeleather said bringing the idled Moyock Commons wastewater treatment plant back on line would provide a fix for the problem.
“This will allow us to bring commercial businesses online without stalling the economy,” Stikeleather said. “We are getting as creative as we can.”
Commissioners must approve the idea by March to allow ample time to get the mothballed plant up and running by December, Stikeleather said.
“We want you (the board) to start thinking about it and maybe at the February retreat we can get more in depth about it,” he said.
But reviving the mothballed plant would cost the county around $300,000. Some parts at the idled plant were cannibalized for use at other facilities. Replacing those parts along with other fixes needed to restart the plant could cost upward of $180,000, which includes a 20 percent contingency fund. Operating the plant for a year also would cost the county an estimated $155,000.
While the Moyock Commons plant may only be needed for six months, Stikeleather told the board he budgeted for a full year in case there are more delays with the Moyock regional plant. The Moyock Commons plant is behind the Food Lion on N.C. Highway 168 in Moyock and was last used seven years ago.
“There are a couple of pros to using that plant,” Stikeleather said. “That plant has an existing permit and the limits on that plant are more forgiving than on a new plant.”
He said county staff are not concerned about encountering a capacity limit at the Moyock Commons plant.
“If we take flow that we currently have and send it to that plant, that will free up flow that we can send to the other plant (Moyock regional),” he said. “We can free up 15,000 gallons a day, and from December to May you are not going to see a project go over 15,000 gallons (of wastewater) a day.’’
Stikeleather told the board several issues caused delaying the expansion project.
“Design was slow, and the other issue was the state,” Stikeleather said. “The state typically turns permits around in a 30-day window but for some reason this is going toward the 90-day window. There is no issue with the permit, they are just understaffed and overworked. It is just taking them a long time to turn stuff around.’’