Though steady Summer rains have erased any concerns about drought this year, ensuring an adequate supply of water is always a top concern in Seven Lakes, which is served by Moore County Public Utilities.
So, it was no surprise that the Greater Seven Lakes Community Council [GSLCC] had some questions about water -- and about sewer -- when they met with the Moore County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, August 15.
Public Works Director Randy Gould reviewed a $12 million project that will bring water to Seven Lakes from Harnett County's treatment plant on the Cape Fear River. Currently, almost all of Seven Lakes' water comes from wells in Pinehurst, traveling in a water main that parallels NC Highway 211.
That system can provide about one million gallons per day, Gould said, and the community's 6,365 residents require a maximum daily supply of 881,000 gallons. By 2030, the County expects 9,125 residents in Seven Lakes, and a maximum day demand for 1.22 million gallons of water.
The County currently purchases up to two million gallons per day [MGPD] from Harnett County at a cost of $2.40 per thousand gallons. A new initiative approved by the Commissioners will buy into an expansion of Harnett's water treatment plant at an upfront cost of $5.25 million, providing up to 3.0 MGPD at an ongoing cost of $1.92 per thousand gallons.
Booster pump upgrades, a new water main on NC Highway 73, and a new water tank near West End will bring Harnett County water to Seven Lakes. In addition, the County plans to drill three new wells near Foxfire that will increase the supply of water to Pinehurst.
State financing sought
The County hopes to fund the entire $12 million project with a zero percent interest loan from the State's revolving loan fund. Project designs, engineering reports, and environmental analyses are being assembled to meet a September 30 loan application deadline, Gould said. If all goes according to plan, the project would be completed by December 2016.
County water system customers will pay for the new water source with an increase in their water rates. Gould conservatively estimates a monthly increase of $5.79 per customer, though that estimate is based on a four percent interest rate.
Commissioner Larry Caddell said the increase will be smaller if the County obtains zero percent financing. Large residential developers seeking connection to the County water system must defray the County's cost of providing water, Caddell added, and those contributions could also lessen the cost to water system customers.
"This is the most affordable way to fix the water problem," Caddell said.
Developers may be the key to sewer for Seven Lakes
The GSLCC had asked about the potential for sewer service in Seven Lakes, noting that the expansion of the local business community is hampered by reliance on septic.
Gould offered little encouragement that Seven Lakes would be connected to the County's wastewater treatment facility in Addor -- on the extreme other end of the County.
He explained that the closest sewer line to Seven Lakes is a four-inch line that serves the West Pine schools, "but that's not big enough to handle Seven Lakes."
"There was a time when you could get grants to sewer communities," Gould said. "But those times are past."
The more likely option, Gould said, is if the developer of the Dormie Club (on NC Highway 73 near Beulah Hill Church Road) and the proposed Pine Forest subdivision builds the private wastewater treatment plant they have proposed to serve those developments.
Any such plant would be built to the County's specifications, Gould explained, and might, at some point, be taken over by the County. That would allow the formation of a sanitary district that could include Seven Lakes.