Change saves several hundred thousand dollars

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 07:21 PM

The state’s secretary of natural resources has agreed to a plan that will save Henderson several hundred thousand dollars, according to the city manager.

Ray Griffin said Kerr Lake Regional Water System stakeholders met with John Skvarla III regarding an extension for the water plant engineering plan. Had an extension not been granted, redoing engineering studies would have been required.

“We are very glad that the secretary has helped us take this more reasonable approach to the problem,” Griffin said. “This was very important to us.”

Michael Inscoe said getting the upgraded project moving forward impacts economic growth for the whole region. Inscoe is a city councilman and chairman for the Kerr Lake Regional Water System Advisory Board.

“This has a large bearing on industrial development going forward,” Inscoe said, “for economic development and job growth going forward for our region.”

Inscoe said that the counties of Granville, Vance and Warren coordinate promoting the area for industrial development, and the increase in water availability is a basic element for that cause.

Griffin said it is also important because the added expense would have translated into additional costs for upgrade work planned for the regional water facility. The plan is to eventually double its daily capacity from 10 to 20 million gallons.

That would also translate into higher bills for water users.

“If this had not been granted, it would have been a significant cost,” Inscoe said.

Inscoe outlined the stakeholder concerns, including Kerr Lake water users in Warren and Granville counties, and expanding use into Vance County from the city.

The water from Kerr Lake would be moved from the Roanoke River Basin for use in areas of the Tar-Pamlico River Basin to the south of the basin dividing line, requiring the inter-basin transfer permit.

Inscoe noted that a permanent agreement with the U.S. Corps of Engineers had been obtained in 1974 to double the water use of Kerr Lake to 20 million gallons.

Work on the engineering plan for water facility upgrades began in 2001, and an authorization to construct was issued by the state in April 2006.

“Because of various reasons, the plant expansion has not taken place, and the ATC is set to expire in April 2013,” Inscoe said.

Inscoe added that the inter-basin transfer permit process was delayed four years, from late 2011 to late 2015.

“The once reasonable timeline to obtain the permit has been moved,” Inscoe said. “We are already sending water into the other basin from Kerr Lake now.

“What we are asking for is to make the transfer agreement compatible with our increased use agreement.”

The current transfer agreement is at 10 million gallons.

Griffin said getting an earlier date on the inter-basin transfer is still a work in progress.

“We asked if there was any way they could speed that up,” Griffin said, “and they are looking into our request.”

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.