ST. PAULS — Money wasn’t included in this year’s town budget for St. Pauls’ aging waste ater treatment plant, but thanks to a company that believes in the value of “giving back to the community” it has a renovated chlorine contact chamber.
St. Pauls was this year’s recipient of a more than $46,000 project donation from Carolina Management Team, a protective coatings contractor headquartered in Asheville. As part of the company’s annual program called “CMT Gives Back,” the failing concrete of the chlorine contact chamber at the St. Paul’s facility on South Elizabeth Street — originally constructed in 1964 — was repaired and coated.
The work, completed about two weeks ago, cost the town nothing. According to Wendy Banks, who co-founded CMT 13 years ago with her brother David Van Zee, St. Pauls was one of 11 applicants to receive this year’s grant through her company’s program designed to help communities maintain their water and wastewater infrastructure without having to bear the cost of replacing buildings, tanks, piping and other equipment.
St. Pauls is the fourth project that CMT has taken on as part of its annual program. Other North Carolina communities that have been awarded project grants to upgrade their water and wastewater plant infrastructure include Burnsville, Dobson and Marshall. Banks said that the application process for the 2017 project has just closed.
On Wednesday, St. Pauls officials and others closely associated with the project attended an unveiling of the renovated chlorine contact chamber. Chlorine contact chambers temporary detain wastewater while chlorine disinfection occurs.
St. Pauls Administrator J.R. Steigerwald said that while the town is now able to fund some of its critical infrastructure needs, repair and rehabilitation of the chamber at the plant would not have occurred anytime soon if the project donation had not been awarded by CMT.
“This is an excellent example of a collaborative effort between the town and the private sector to improve the condition of the plant,” Steigerwald said.
Steigerwald said that in order to have money available to make major repairs and upgrades to the town’s aging infrastructure, the town commissioners had to increase water and sewer rates for the past three years.
“Our budget is looking better now,” he said. “The necessary increase in our sewer and water rates has helped to make us more self-sufficient and able to fund necessary infrastructure needs.”