County won’t pave way for sewer

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — Surry County will provide money toward the garnering of an easement for a new sewer line, but the Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority will have to pave the way for that easement.

Monday evening the Surry County Board of Commissioners emerged from a closed session to cast a vote regarding a sewer line which is planned to run to Weyerhaeuser, a large Elkin-area employer which produces OSB board also known as chipboard.

Per County Manager Chris Knopf, the county’s only financial interest in the project is an $80,000 contribution in matching grant monies. However, the county’s role in the project is to secure all necessary easements.

Weyerhaeuser has already performed about $1 million in upgrades to its wastewater treatment equipment preparing to link into the system, according to Knopf’s remarks at a previous meeting.

Only two easements are necessary to run the lines, said County Attorney Ed Woltz at an October meeting. Elsewhere along the route, the lines can be placed in the public right of way. The easements have not been easy to garner, however.

“They want Weyerhaeuser to keep up the river bank on the property,” Woltz said of one landowner. “They are asking for $5,000, and they want their driveway paved.”

The owners of the parcel went as far as noting which contractor they want to see perform the services associated with paving the driveway.

Commissioner Van Tucker called the terms “a no-go” at that meeting.

However, on Monday night the board did move forward in negotiating the easement. It voted unanimously to provide $5,000 in funding for the easement, but the motion stopped there.

“The (Yadkin Valley) Sewer Authority will have to fund the remainder of their demands,” said board Chair Buck Golding after the meeting concluded.

Golding stated the $5,000 would come from the general fund contingency.

An official from the sewer authority could not be reached on Wednesday.

If the authority cannot negotiate an agreement with the property owners, it would (unlike the county) have the power of eminent domain.

Another easement also has yet to be resolved. The property on which Vulcan Materials Company sits is also causing some slowdown for the project. According to Woltz, the county’s negotiations with the company have regarded liability.

Another unresolved issue with the project, which began in 2013, regards the wastewater produced at Weyerhaeuser, according to Knopf. The sewer authority has yet to agree to accept the wastewater produced at the plant.

In October, sewer authority executive director Nicole Johnston indicated her organization was actively negotiating the terms of accepting the wastewater from Weyerhaeuser, noting the waste had to meet approved chemical levels prior to the authority agreeing to accept it.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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