State Weighs in on Wilmington Sewer System

WILMINGTON -- Wilmington won't have to pay a fine due to its recent run of sewer woes.

Friday, state environmental watchdogs issued their analysis of the sewer situation that's reached a crisis point with spill after spill.

Two spills last month were both along the troubled Northeast Interceptor. That's the line that handles most of the sewage from the eastern side of New Hanover County.

While city leaders have put into action a plan to make repairs to that line, a letter urges the city to get those repairs finished by March of 2008. A moratorium on permits for new hook-ups on that line will stay in place. The state did not levy a fine for last month's spills.

"The city is committed to improving our system as quickly as possible. We will work closely with the Divison of Water Quality to make sure we are meeting their expectations to help us improve," said City Manager Sterling Cheatham.

The city has four short-term repairs, including replacing about 2,000 feet of pipe along Greenville Loop Road. Those repairs will be sent out for bid next week. They're expected to cost nearly $2-million and be complete by July 2007.

A contract for repairs that need to be made while a parallel line is being constructed will be considered by the city council members at their meeting Tuesday. Those repairs are expected to cost $2.7 million and be complete by mid-2008.

Reported by Kim Gebbia