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Edneyville sewer project hinges on rate, state and federal funding

Henderson County engineers are conducting a rate study to determine how much sewer service would cost if the county decides to build a wastewater treatment system in the apple country.

The Board of Commissioners heard that and other updates on providing sewer service and delayed action pending the rate study and the outcome of the state budget, which is likely to appropriate some amount of money to extend sewer system to  northern Henderson County residents and businesses.

Commissioners had been discussing a solution for sewer service for Edneyville Elementary School for the past several years and were presented options earlier this year that ranged in cost from $2.2 million to $62 million. Consulting engineers KCI Associates presented solutions ranging from the small to the large. The broadest solution, and most expensive, involved gravity sewer lines in the Edneyville and Fruitland area and a new wastewater treatment facility at North Henderson High School.

"We've met with the community, we've got all these options and like everything it comes down to money," Commission Chair Bill Lapsley said. Both Sen. Chuck Edwards and Rep. Tim Moffitt have gotten funding in the state budget to help pay for an Edneyville sewer project, although the budget is not expected to be adopted by the Legislature until next month at the earliest. The county is also considering using American Rescue Plan Act money to offset the capital cost for a sewer system. Before commissioners choose an option, they need to know whether the city of Hendersonville is willing to accept more wastewater for treatment, Lapsley said. County Manager John Mitchell said he will send a letter to the city administration asking that question and also to the Asheville-based Metropolitan Sewer District to gauge that agency's interest in operating the sewer system for the county.

Commissioner Daniel Andreotta said he wants to make sure Edneyville and Fruitland residents appreciate the potential impact sewer availability would have on development density and on traffic, particularly Chimney Rock Road. "It's a parking lot," he said. "It's two times worse during apple season and it won't take but a year or two to have several hundred more cars on that road" if the county approves sewer in the community.

Lapsley warned in May that a regional sewer system of that magnitude would open the door to development.

"Should this board decide to proceed with this alternative and build a large gravity sewer line and treatment plant basically what I think this board would be doing is driving new development in this county into that area," he said. "It would make it extraordinarily attractive to a developer, residential in particular but also commercial and industrial as well. It would drive development into that area. It goes way way beyond what I saw as the objective here, and that's to get sewer to Edneyville Elementary."

Options include:

  • A new pump station at Camp Judea and gravity sewer line from Edneyville Elementary School to city of Hendersonville treatment plant, $3.6 million.
  • New pump station from Edneyville Elementary School to city treatment plant, $2.2 million.
  • New wastewater treatment facility at Camp Judea, gravity line from Edneyville to city treatment plant, $3.4 million.
  • Three pump stations on U.S. 64, new pump station at the WNC Justice Academy, to city treatment plant, $14.7 million.
  • Regional gravity system to new plant at NHHS, $29.6 million.
  • Regional gravity system serving Edneyville, the Justice Academy and Fruitland Baptist Church, new treatment plant at NHHS, $47.3 million.
  • Regional gravity system serving Edneyville plus a new pump station at Justice Academy, new treatment plant at NHHS, $33.2 million.
  • Regional gravity system serving Edneyville plus minor gravity sewer lines to serve developments, new treatment plant at NHHS, $62 million.
  • Regional gravity system serving Edneyville plus new pump station at Fruitland Baptist to a new treatment plant at the confluence of streams, $26.1 million.