County to borrow more money to repair Boykins plant

Published 11:06 am Saturday, September 29, 2012


COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday voted 4-2 to borrow up to $230,000 for additional expenses for repairing the Boykins sewer treatment plant.

Voting to borrow the interest-free loan from the state were Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter, Boykins District Supervisor Carl Faison, Berlin/Ivor District Supervisor Ronald West and Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips.

Jerusalem District Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards and Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike voted no.

In November 2009, after limits were lowered by the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Boykins plant couldn’t meet its discharge limits into the Meherrin River for ammonia and copper.

Following a series of violations in 2010, the county was fined $4,340, which has been paid, and was ordered to bring the plant into compliance by Jan. 1.

The county in February borrowed $880,502 to take care of the problem, but since has learned additional work is needed.

The contract called for removing and disposing up to 47 dry tons of sludge at $1,844 a ton.

“Unfortunately, we’ve encountered much more sludge than was anticipated,” said County Administrator Mike Johnson.

“Sludge doesn’t settle like cement; it’s not level across the bottom. It’s up and down, peaks and valleys. It resembles a riverbed so it is very difficult to come up with an exact estimate.”

So far, the contractor has removed 91.5 dry tons; that number could climb to upwards of 180 tons, which equates to $245,000 on top of the original estimate.

“I think I could have estimated this better,” said Edwards.

Updike feels the county is being taken to the cleaners.

“This situation makes me mad,” said Updike. “I feel that because of this, the citizens don’t count. Citizens need to speak up and speak their mind.”

Porter is upset because the county relied on experts for estimates. “We don’t have a lot of say in this matter because it has to be done,” he said. “Our backs are against the wall. This project is mandated by the EPA/DEQ.”