HOFFMAN — By month’s end, contractors will begin laying pipes so Hoffman, at long last, can begin sending its sewage to Moore County for treatment. Until now, the town’s 570 residents have relied on septic tanks to capture their waste.
Four years ago, the town won a $3 million Community Development Block Grant for Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to link 64 homes to the new system and be completed at summer’s end. The town recently also applied for $2 million to begin Phase 2, one of many likely phases to come.
“The process is a fairly lengthy one,” said engineer Mike Apke, a principal at McGill Associates in Pinehurst and Hoffman project manager. Each phase requires an engineering study, an environmental-impact report, design and permitting work, and a bidding process.
“We actually had a contractor selected back in the fall,” Apke said Friday — and then the project ran into a hitch. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, where pipes for the project were being made. Some of those bright blue pipes are stacked along U.S. 1 now, awaiting placement.
“People are being given the choice” of whether to hook up to the system, said Maggie Bethea, the town’s clerk, finance officer and tax collector. Most want to be connected to the new system, which means their septic tanks will remain in place but be decommissioned, Apke said.
Hoffman receives its water from Richmond County but found it would be too costly to seek sewer service from the county in which the town sits. The Moore County line is a few scant miles away and is especially close to the town’s easternmost residents.
“It really came down to where the closest connection point to a sewer system was,” Apke said — and that was Moore County. Hoffman will own the system, not Moore County, and it still will buy water from Richmond County. Such a combination of services is unusual but not unheard of, Apke said.
Sewer pipes must be laid on a grade and approximately 10 to 15 feet deep, Apke said, so “there will definitely be some inconveniences to residents” as contractors dig up the rights of way in people’s front yards.
“We will just ask the residents to be patient with that,” he said.
Community Development Block Grants, or CDBGs, come from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to finance affordable housing, antipoverty programs and infrastructure development. Because many Hoffman residents earn low to middle incomes, they will not have to pay to have their septic tanks capped or to connect their homes to the sewer system.
Phase 1 of the project includes the building of two wastewater lift stations and installation of 9,600 feet of sewer pipe. Town officials have said they hope installing a sewer system will increase the town’s prospects for business development.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]