Sullivan’s Island is in the final stages of securing the money necessary to begin its sewer pipe repair project this summer.
Before acquiring the $1.6 million requested from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in December, the town is required to present its budget for the upcoming fiscal year to prove it can afford to pay the money back.
Sullivan’s Island already planned its budget to pay back 2 percent interest on $800,000 for the year. But because the work has since been approved as a green project, Sullivan’s Island will actually only have to pay 1 percent interest. The town’s budget isn’t due until June 30 but will be presented this week to help expedite the process.
“We’re in the very final stages of having to document to the state that the revenue we’ll have come in is enough,” Sullivan’s Island Mayor Mike Perkis said. “And it will be. We’ve already pre-budgeted. This is the last real hurdle, but it’s an easy one.”
Sullivan’s Island is estimated to be processing more than twice the water flow it should, roughly 300,000 extra gallons, due to damaged sewer pipes. Excessive infiltration and inflow is especially high in the commercial district of the island. The majority of the island’s pipe system predates 1970, with parts near Station 16 dating back as far as 1932.
The town is planning to begin repairs by the beginning of June and complete the project within five months. The first phase of the project will cover seven miles of pipes that are deemed the most damaged. A chemical grout will be used to handle most of the repairs, filling and sealing the cracks in the pipes. This initial phase is expected to reduce leakage by 20-30 percent. The pipes that cannot be sealed will be replaced with new pipes.
“It’s been somewhat of a lengthy and complex process,” Water and Sewer Committee Chair Susan Middaugh said. “But we wanted to run over everything to make sure there weren’t any speed bumps.”
The project will be mostly unobtrusive to residents, with the crews working through manholes to avoid shutting down roads or trenching. Residents have already seen a minor hike in water bills over the past year to begin paying for the project, but spread out over two years, the increases will remain minimal.