If You Don’t First Succeed….again and again!

June 4, 2018 | Blog

Written By: John Crowder


Minzies Creek Sanitary District

This community formed a sanitary district in 2012. The community originally was a travel trailer park which closed but allowed the tenants to purchase their spaces.  Each space is approximately 50 feet by 75 feet, just large enough for a travel trailer or other RV. This park is surrounded by marshes and small creeks which empty into the Albemarle Sound.  This small community is what is commonly known as the Holiday Island area of Perquimans County just south of the town of Hertford.

The need for a new wastewater treatment and collection system. This District was referred to SERCAP by NC DEQ in that the State was trying to get their wastewater system in compliance with the state wastewater regulations. The wastewater system consists of an old tertiary treatment plant followed by the discharge into duel “dry lagoons that do discharge into an unknown tributary of the Albemarle Sound. SERCAP became involved with the governing body in 2013 which is one of the first projects of NC-SERCAP. The state manager went to work first meeting with the board with a series of meetings and one public meeting to discuss upgrades and financing a new wastewater system and to train the newly formed commissioners of the Board. Shortly after SERCAP met with USDA RD and discussed the problem and the need. USDA’s Dennis Delong was able to review the census tract data and it was determined that the District would possibly qualify for a “Search Grant” from RD which in turn would fund a preliminary engineering report to determine the best alternative for their wastewater alternatives. Wooten Engineering was chosen by the board a PER was developed. There were three alternatives given in PER but after extensive investigations, three alternatives were ruled out. The alternatives chosen were as follows:

Connect the wastewater system to an adjacent subdivision’s system—the developer and homeowner’s association denied access.

Install a series of WW lift stations to the small town of Hertford in Perquimans County. This option was not approved by the town and the expense of this system appeared to be too expensive

Use a portion of the Sanitary District’s property for a land disposal system but there is not enough usable area for an –on-site system.

As the years past NC DEQ and the District signed a Special Order by Consent (SOC) with the understanding that the District will repair and upgrade the wastewater system to meet current regulations. However, things just bogged down with no alternatives left and the PER the District was left paying hefty fines totaling in excess of $18K.

With this in mind, USDA RD charged SERCAP with the task of seeing what other alternatives were available. Wooten Engineering suggested to the District that an offsite system be planned but the District would have to purchase more property. If no alternative is found the residents of this low-to-middle income area will have to vacate the system and move.

Fortunately, USDA RD was able to secure another PER for Wooten to proceed with this alternative and study.

However, SERCAP’s State manager along with Randy Welch Regional EPA WW TAP visited the site and met with Clay Helm, Chairman of the District. The purpose of the visit was to perform a preliminary evaluation of the purposed property that the district is looking to purchase. SERCAP bored a series of boring to a depth of 2-3 feet on several areas on the property and found on an area at the eastern area of the property that may have some promise. Most of these soils boring indicate very poorly drained soils with a seasonal high water table very shallow. (The site was so limited that we got the truck stuck in the slick mud and had to get a 4X4 to pull us out.)  After discussing this with the District’s engineering firm more testing will be needed to determine the feasibility of a “slow drip” wastewater system in this area.

SERCAP in NC will continue to monitor the progress and will meet as needed with NC DEQ to keep the state informed of the progress.


This article was produced by the Southeastern RCAP, SERCAP. Learn more about SERCAP at sercap.org