Dora sewer treatment plant receives $350K grant for upgrades
by Rachel Davis
Sep 14, 2012 | 2008 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The East Walker Sewer Authority received a $350,000 Community Block Development Grant to update equipment at the East Walker Waste Water Treatment Plant. The treatment plant was built 27 years ago and served the cities of Sumiton and Dora until late last year when the City of Sumiton pulled out of the East Walker Sewer Authority in favor of their own city-run system.

A new board was seated for the sewer authority early in 2012, consisting of Phillip Ballenger, Randy Spears and Chairman and Dora Mayor-Elect Randy Stephens.

The East Walker Sewer Authority still serves approximately 280 customers in the city of Dora, which includes schools, businesses and approximately 250 residential customers.

“This grant was really crucial to get the system back in line with regulations and to resolve a lot of the problems,” Dora Mayor Chris Edwards said. “It was important to us as a city to improve the sewer, because it will impact only the citizens of Dora.”

In the application, officials said the plant was suffering the effects of age and wear and tear, making it inadequate for the community’s needs.

“This grant will be used to totally renovate the antiquated treatment plant that serves the residents of Dora,” Stephens said. “The plant was constructed in the mid-80s and has never been updated or renovated. With the benefit of this grant, we will be able to totally rebuild the wastewater treatment plant, including new aerators, new energy-efficient effluent pumps and a new electrical system.”

Stephens said he and grant writer Peggy Matthews of Community Consultants began working on the application earlier this year, including holding a public hearing and asking community members to voice support for the grant application.

“To my knowledge, no one has ever applied for a grant for the sewer system,” Stephens said. “It has just been sitting there deteriorating for years.”

Stephens also said that this money, along with the $36,000 in matching money that was provided by the city, will bring the system up to date, in compliance and put the city in a prime position for growth. He said the city’s infrastructure already had a strong water and gas system and this adds the last portion needed to strengthen the city’s appeal.

“When this construction is complete, we will have the most energy efficient and environmentally safe treatment plant of any city our size,” Stephens said. “The future is bright. We can recruit businesses and industry because our wastewater treatment facility has the potential to increase its current load by five-fold or more.”

Stephens voiced appreciation to the governor and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for awarding this grant to the sewer authority.

He also talked about the cooperation of entities within the city to help this project move forward.

“This is possible through the cooperation of the City of Dora, the Dora Utilities Board and the East Walker Sewer Authority,” Stephens said. “It was a joint effort.”