Commissioners approve resolution for Todd water study

Wil Petty

April 14, 2014

In a 4-0 vote by the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, a resolution requesting a technical assistance grant for a study for Todd water and waste-water facilities was approved.

The technical assistance grant will be used to fund a preliminary engineering report.

If approved by the state, the county would receive a $50,000 grant for the study from the N.C. Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. Of that money, $45,000 would go to an engineering report while $5,000 would go to grant and loan administration.

“What we want to do first is a study to figure out what we are doing, can we be self-sufficient and if it will work?” said Michael Acquesta, senior project engineer for Municipal Engineering Services, based in Boone.

No matching funds will be required by the community or Ashe County in order to receive the grant.

Acquesta, a resident of Todd, said he had been contacted by the Todd Community Preservation Organization to talk about the potential of having water and sewer in the community.

“Todd has actually had two community meetings in the last three to four years and got the folks from the area to talk with us about what they wanted and what they didn’t want,” he said.

According to documents provided in the meeting’s agenda packet, the rationale behind the proposed study, “Residents and merchants in Todd are served by individual wells and septic systems.”

“The wells at the Todd Post Office and at River Girl Outfitter are contaminated and bottled water must be brought in,” according to the documents. “The grandfathered septic tanks at the Todd Mercantile and Todd General Store are failing. Neither establishment can grow beyond their current potential because of this.”

As these situations started occurring in Todd, the community started looking for ways to remedy the situation.

“They were interested in seeing if there was some way to figure out how we could get water and sewer to Todd to help grow businesses, and keep the ones that are there,” Acquesta said.

The grant, if approved, is projected to start on July 1. A total of 10 businesses and five residences would be served by the project.

Upon completion, according to the document, Ashe County will “…have the vehicle to apply for construction funds to build the community water and sewer facilities.”

According to documents, the water and sewer facilities would help improve the area’s economic situation, remedy pollution problems in existence and allow the town to have a “Sanitary District” to oversee community facilities.

Acquesta said the community has already set down a proposed sanitary district, if everything goes as planned.

Commissioner Gerald Price asked if Acquesta could be more specific about how these plans would affect fire protection in the Todd area.

Acquesta said there would be a potential to create a storage well on land near Todd General Store which could then provide fire hydrants for the town of Todd.

“There would be fire hydrants, there won’t be a lot of them, but there will be some down there and will have a pressure well at the top (of the hill),” he said. “That’s the intent.”

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.