The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 7, 2013

County’s grant to improve Princeville’s water, sewer

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — PRINCEVILLE — Thanks to a grant, Edgecombe County is moving forward toward improving Princeville’s dilapidated water and sewer system.

Edgecombe recently received the $34,125 grant from the N.C. Rural Center. The grant will be used to produce a preliminary engineering report for Princeville’s system. The report will examine the entire system and spell out the good and the bad points. Edgecombe County commissioners will vote whether or not to accept the grant tonight during its regular scheduled meeting.

The county’s routine examination of the system found several problems which included;

• six of the nine lift stations “had serious problems”

• 25-to-30 water meters could not be located

• of the 700-800 customers, 50-to-75 accounts had problems

Some of the meters that could not be located are under driveways and others were not properly connected to the proper customers. Through the old system, customers whose meters were under driveways were billed a minimum payment each month.

“We don’t know how that happened. We just can’t figure that one out,” said Edgecombe County Manager Lorenzo Carmon. “We’re going to make sure that everybody is paying for what they are using.”

Carmon said the county will apply for another grant to pay for maintenance  on the lift stations as well as other maintenance the system may need.

At the request of the Local Government Commission, which took over Princeville’s finances last July, Edgecombe County took over the town’s water and sewer system on Dec. 1. T. Vance Holloman, deputy treasurer of N.C. Department of Treasuer, reported that the town’s water and sewer fund balance was in the red by more than $298,000. He said it is difficult for a municipality the size of Princeville to properly maintain a water and sewer system.  

Princeville buys its water from Tarboro and it had a contract with Bailey-based Envirolink for the upkeep of the system. Envirolink Inc, had handled those chores for several years.

Princeville Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates fought against the county takeover of the system while urging Envirolink Inc. to keep it.

“The system is not in terrible shape,” Edgecombe County Manager Lorenzo Carmon said. “So far, we are pleased with what we have found. Once the preliminary report is completed it will give us more information that will allow us to make sure the system is up to speed and standard.”

With the addition of Princeville, Edgecombe County now has six water districts. The county began the water district project more than 10 years ago with the mission to provide clean, safe water to all Edgecombe County citizens.