Now that Sampson is in a position to offer water to surrounding counties and municipalities, commissioners met Tuesday morning, giving their nod of approval for the county manager to pursue negotiations with neighboring Johnston following a request for water from officials there.
According to Matthew West of Dewberry Engineering, Sampson has been approached by officials from Johnston County for a potential partnership between the two. As part of the partnership, Johnston officials have expressed interest in purchasing groundwater from here.
“Sampson County is now a water supplier where in the past it has been a purchaser,” West said during his presentation to commissioners Tuesday.
According to West, wells in the District 2 North came online about two years ago. Prior to that source being made available, Sampson was purchasing water from the city of Dunn. The emergency interconnection with the neighboring city is being maintained, West added. At the present time, the county is no longer purchasing water from Dunn.
“I never thought I would see that,” commissioner Albert Kirby said, in reference to the county no longer purchasing water from Dunn. “I’ve always dreamed of a time when we don’t have to purchase water from Clinton. That day will come.”
Sampson County’s current operation status, as well as improvements being made to the water system, has allowed the county to be courted by Johnston for a source of providing water in the southern end of that county.
The water sources east and west on N.C. 24 and south of Clinton have not changed, West added, continuing to be provided by the city of Clinton, as well as the towns of Roseboro and Turkey.
“The county’s groundwater resource is certainly a marketable resource,” West pointed out. “This is an opportunity for Sampson County to sell groundwater.”
The interconnection between Sampson and Johnston counties, West said, would be both long-term and short-term. The short-term interconnection, he added, would be to provide Johnston County with 100,000 to 150,000 gallons of water a day.
Capital improvements would be required for the short-term interconnection between the neighboring counties. A booster pump station would have to be installed to allow water to reach both systems. The closet connection between both systems, West said, is at the intersection of Easy Street and N.C. 55.
“Johnston County is interconnected with a bunch of people and Sampson County’s water future would be secure,” Sampson County Public Works director Lee Cannady noted.
The cost of the partnership, both Cannady and West stressed, hasn’t been determined, until negotiations could be discussed with officials from Johnston County.
Commissioner Sue Lee expressed her concern in hurting the people of Sampson County by decreasing the amount of water available to the county’s residents.
“This enhances the opportunity to serve the citizens of Sampson County,” Cannady said.
Eventually, West said, Sampson County would like to have a long-term interconnection with Johnston County and provide more water.
“The interconnection will go both ways,” West said. “It can be a mutual aid if needed.”
In the way of improvements, West shared with the board that the elevated storage tank and water main to serve Enviva are still under construction, with the completion date of January 2016.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.