New Bern Sun Journal Aug. 10, 2010

Project would improve draining in Five Points, Duffyfield

P. Christine Smith

New Bern is working on an innovative system to improve stormwater drainage in the Duffyfield and Five Points areas.
The New Bern Board of Aldermen will consider a contract award to E.L.J. Inc. for the Jack Smith Creek Stormwater Improvement Project. The board is set to meet at 7 p.m. today.
The company’s $770,000 bid was the lowest received for the project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, said Acting City Engineer Jordan Hughes. The two-part project is partially funded by a $1 million grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Fund.
“It’s a very innovative project,” Hughes said.
The first part of the project, for which E.L.J. submitted the bid, includes the construction of a pumping station with two pumps, one to be located at the end of Rose Street and the other off of Simmons Street, Hughes said.
The city may opt to reduce the E.L.J. bid to $750,000, should officials select two electric submersible pumps instead of the two hydraulic pumps included in the bid, according to information Hughes provided.
“It helps the drainage along the Duffyfield-Five Points area during heavy rain events that would result in flooding,” Hughes said.
The N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Project will be responsible for the second part of the project, the development of a 29-acre enhanced wetlands site that will filter the stormwater drainage before releasing it to the Jack Smith Creek, Hughes said. The site will use natural filtration methods, like plant life, to filter the water. The EEP has committed about $1.3 million for the project, and it is working with N.C. State University in its planning.
“This is one of, if not the largest, type of these projects in the state,” Hughes said.
The 29-acre site is located along the east side of Simmons Road, with Oaks Road to its north and railroad tracks to it south.
The N.C. Clean Water Management Fund grant required an equal match. The city largely satisfied the required match in years past through the purchase of the 29-acre site and engineering fees, Hughes said. The city will spend about $100,000 more of budgeted money toward fulfilling the match requirement, he said.
In the future, various entities may use the wetlands part of the project as an educational tool. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2011, Hughes said.
The board also will consider approving the 2007 Local Water Supply plan. This is a routine annual report that the city must submit to the state. The state experienced a backlog in report review, so it just recently returned the 2007 report with its approval.
Items included in the report are population and water supply projections. The purpose of the report is to ensure that municipalities are prepared for long-range growth, Hughes said.
In other business, the board will consider approving an application for the 2010 N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program Grant Program, which would provide money for the police department to purchase items it may not otherwise have the means to fund, and a rezoning item.