WINDBLOW — Contractors last month completed the long-awaited installation of water lines along N.C. 73 to connect county water service to Richmond County’s northernmost community.
Residents petitioned to receive county water in September 2015 but there was a problem: the highway crosses Naked Creek, an obstacle that made the project too costly to meet the requirements of the Richmond County Residential Water Extension policy.
The policy stipulates that there must be enough customers hooking up to the water line to ensure that the cost of construction is paid back to the county through tap fees in 10 years or less. At one point Carolyn Bostic, a Montgomery County resident working on behalf of family in Windblow, filed another petition to allow the community to connect to her county’s water. That petition received 11 signatures but never materialized.
“It was a real hassle,” Bostic said. “They told me there weren’t enough families (tapping on) — if there’s one family (asking for county water service), that should do it.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Anthony Copeland, Bostic’s contact for the potential project, could not be reached for comment.
Bostic said that Windblow residents have been asking for county water for as long as she can remember, but County Manager Bryan Land said this is the first petition the county has received in regard to the issue. Richmond County does not keep records of “petitions for water extensions to areas that aren’t served by water,” Dena Cook, clerk to the Board of Commissioners, said in an email.
“We respond to all petitions for water,” Land said in an email.
The project may not have happened were it not for Floyd Traywick, a chicken farmer whose property is one of the first on the Windblow side of the creek. He offered to pay out of pocket for the extra cost accrued by the water lines having to cross the creek.
Land said as many as 15 Windblow residents plan to tap onto county water, along with a dozen chicken houses.
The total cost of the project was $175,000, according to Public Works Director Jerry Austin, and consisted of laying 4,500 feet of water lines along N.C. 73. Land told the commissioners Tuesday the lines are currently being pressurized, chlorinated and tested for bacteriological contaminants with results expected to come back by the end of this week. Tap installation will begin after this process is complete.
Residents are eligible for a $500 discount off of the normal $900 tap fee if they hook up by May 4, though other application and setup fees still apply.
“We are very pleased we were able to provide the residents of the Windblow community a very reasonably priced, clean, reliable source of water for their consumption,” Land said.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]