Sewer Repairs Come with Big Price Tag

Wilmington, NC – The study found nearly 7,000 feet of sewer line that need to be replaced or repaired in the next five years. The assessment also stressed the need to replace air valves, improve two pumping stations on the line, and modify the corrosion control system.

J. Chris Ford, an engineer who presented study results to the City council, says the types of problems facing the northeast interceptor are not uncommon in other systems of its size.

"There are a variety of reasons for the problems we're seeing. It's difficult to point at one particular thing and say, 'this is exactly what caused it!' It's a variety of things. Some of them are equipment failures, pipeline failures, some of them are maybe construction issues, but it's a variety of things."

The study also projected needed expansions to the Northeast Interceptor portion of New Hanover County's sewer system. Much of the debate over the future of the N.E.I. depends on whether the county shifts an area known as 'Basin 2,' which includes the Landfall and Mayfaire developments, to a different treatment system.

Depending on that shift, estimates for the total cost of repairs and expansion of the Northeast Interceptor range from 33 to 41 million dollars.

The N.E.I. is a joint venture between the town of Wrightsville Beach, the city of Wilmington, and New Hanover County. It handles about half of Wilmington's total sewer flow.

A complete report on the state of the city's sewer system is due at the end of August.