By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
ORIENTAL – State regulators have ended a moratorium on new sewer hookups in this waterfront community.
Chris Venters, sewer superintendent, announced the good news at a June 20 meeting of the utility’s governing board.
The prohibition on any new wastewater flow came last September, and stymied the town’s newest residents, Bill and Lynn Hines, in their plans to build a home. And, the snafu also pushed back the opening of at least one business in town.
Bay River Metropolitan Sewerage District had no choice but to accept the moratorium after efforts to rehabilitate a faulty infiltration pond proved unsuccessful. The site, located on Orchard Creek Road near the upscale River Dunes community, has since been bypassed – with effluent from Oriental now being pumped to a sprayfield in Arapahoe – roughly 20 miles away.
Three contractors involved in construction of the pesky infiltration pond recently agreed to pay a total of $1 million in damages, although an agreement governing the financial settlement allows the parties involved to claim no fault or liability.
Available capacity within the sewer district remains tight, however. Venters told his bosses last week that a lackluster real estate market has given the utility much-needed breathing room, with fewer residential units coming online than during the boom years. He said a variety of measures, including expansion of the utility’s sprayfield, will be needed to ensure sufficient capacity over the long-term.