08/16/17 — City seeks $2M Golden LEAF Foundation grand to protect treatment facility

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City seeks $2M Golden LEAF Foundation grand to protect treatment facility

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on August 16, 2017 5:50 AM

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Goldsboro's Water Treatment Plant on Jordan Boulevard provides drinking water for residents and businesses. The city is applying for a grant that will help build a berm, a natural wall, that will prevent flooding of the facility.

The city of Goldsboro is seeking a $2 million Golden LEAF Foundation grant to better protect the city's water treatment plant during natural disasters.

The treatment plant, on Jordan Boulevard, experienced flooding during Hurricane Matthew, in October, but not at the level that water service was disrupted in the city.

City crews packed sand bags around the plant to prevent water from damaging the electrical system, which could have resulted in the loss of city water service for weeks, said Scott Stevens, city manager.

"It would take weeks and weeks to get it up and running," Stevens said.

The Jordan Boulevard property is prone to flooding due to its proximity near the Little River, a tributary of the Neuse River, the city's main source of water since 1974.

The property not only experienced flooding during Hurricane Matthew but also during Hurricane Floyd, in 1999.

"It was very close to flooding in 1999 and (the water) came very close," Stevens said.

"The plant has operated at this location for 50 plus years, and I am not aware of anytime that floodwaters significantly impacted our ability to produce water. What Hurricanes Floyd and Matthew have shown is that proofing the water plant is needed, and it will remain a significant priority for the city until completed."

The Golden LEAF grant would provide funding for the city to add an earthen berm of 5 to 8 feet above ground level and 2 feet above the highest water mark level from Hurricane Floyd, Stevens said.

The berm would include a mixture of dirt and grass and the addition of a concrete wall in some areas around the plant.

"We're going to have to do something to better protect the plant," Stevens said. "The recommendation is to build a berm all the way around the facility."

City leaders decided to apply for the grant due to the project meeting criteria set for Golden LEAF funding.

"There are no guarantees, but we feel that we have a great project, excellent engineering analysis, and it is definitely needed to protect Goldsboro's drinking water supply when another Hurricane Matthew type flooding event occurs in the future," Stevens said.

The Golden LEAF Foundation will make a decision on the grant application in October, Stevens said. If a grant is not awarded, city leaders will continue to seek outside funding and may consider using city budget resources.

"If outside funding sources are not provided, we will evaluate the need and develop a plan to implement over a multi-year timeframe," Stevens said.