Cross County Cooperation Continues on Greenline Sewer Connection Project

A joint team from Rutherford County and the towns of Lake Lure, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City have reviewed proposals from several engineering firms to conduct the regional sewer study. 

After hearing presentations from the top three candidates, the group has recommended the selection of WK Dickson of Charlotte, a firm with deep experience in regional sewer and water projects.

That recommendation will be considered by the town and county commissions in September, with work expected to start in October.  The study is expected to be a 3-5 month project.  

For some time, Lake Lure and the town of Rutherfordton have been advocating the “Greenline,” a pipeline to Rutherfordton’s sewer treatment plant.  Construction of this pipeline would allow us to decommission our aging, costly plant and to pump wastewater to Rutherfordton for treatment.

 Not only would this remove a discharge point from the Broad River, it would also provide sewer services along the Hwy 64/74A corridor for economic development.  The trouble is the cost of the project is daunting for two small towns to handle alone.

 But, today we are seeing an increased level of communication and cooperation between Rutherford County and all the towns within the county. Working together, we are taking an important step toward improving sewer treatment services in the county. 

The commissioners in Rutherford County, Lake Lure, Rutherfordton, Forest City and Spindale have each agreed to contribute matching funds to receive a sewer planning grant from the NC Rural Center.  This will fund a comprehensive study and report on the costs, benefits and strategy to interconnect some or all of the five sewer treatment plants in Rutherford County.  These systems are operating at various levels of cost and (in)efficiency.  We should have the completed study in hand sometime in 2014.

The study will invest $175,000 in engineering and financial analysis.  Lake Lure’s contribution is $7,500.  Rutherford County is contributing $45,000 (our county tax dollars put to good work!)  It is expected that the study will recommend a model for a regional sewer system that has proven to be highly successful in other counties. 

For instance, in Buncombe County, over a 20-year period they eliminated all of their town-owned sewer treatment plants and connected them all via pipeline to one, highly efficient central facility.  They built this infrastructure one town at a time and utilized public debt financing.  The resulting system is profitable, protective of the environment, and supports economic growth and development. 

Stay tuned for further updates!