Carlisle awarded $1.2 million

The Town of Carlisle will use two grants totaling more than $1.2 million to upgrade its sewer pump stations even as it also considers its options for the future processing of its wastewater in light of the closing of Carlisle Finishing.

In a Saturday morning (September 26) interview with The Union Times, Carlisle Mayor Mary Ferguson-Glenn announced that the Town has been awarded a $500,000 Rural Infrastructure Authority Grant through the Basic Infrastructure Program and a $716,000 Community Development Block Grant through the Community Infrastructure Program. Ferguson-Glenn said that the grants, which total $1,216,000, will be used to fund a much-needed upgrade of the Town’s seven sewer pump stations.

“They are in bad shape and are aging,” Ferguson-Glenn said of the pump stations. “We’ve had a lot of problems with them and continue to have a lot of problems with them. So we are very grateful to get those grants.”

The upgrade of those sewer pumps was on the agenda of the May 12 meeting of Union County Council which at the time voted unanimously to approve a resolution to allocate funds to help Carlisle obtain the needed grants. The resolution describes the seven pump stations as “old and deteriorated … which have caused problems with the sewer distribution system” and that “these deficiencies have led to outages, clogs, stoppages, and the danger of sewer overflow and poor quality sewer service.”

The resolution states that “the Town of Carlisle has worked in conjunction with the City of Union and the Town of Carlisle’s engineer to assess the sewer system pump stations to determine the extent of the problems and has developed a plan to address the problems and upgrade the system.” The resolution states Carlisle “is undertaking a project to upgrade the pump stations in the town.”

The resolution also states that Council “agrees to provide a cash match of $30,000, as well as any additional funds needed to complete the project.”

Ferguson-Glenn thanked County Council for its support of Carlisle’s efforts to obtain the grants.

“We got the grants thanks to our partnership with Union County,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “Union County Council played a big part in assisting us in getting these grants. We are very grateful to them for their support for this project and their support of the people of Carlisle.”

Ferguson-Glenn said that the next step will be for the Town to choose an engineer for the project.

The award of the grants is good news for the Town of Carlisle which recently got some very bad news when it was announced that the Carlisle Finishing Plant will close November 15. The closing of the plant, which will mean the elimination of 120 jobs, will not only impact Carlisle economically in terms of employment, but also presents it a challenge in terms of the treatment of its wastewater.

“It is going to have an effect on us in terms of the number of our citizens who will be losing their jobs,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “It is also going to effect us because Carlisle Finishing processes our wastewater and that service will no longer be available when it closes.”

When it announced that it was closing the Carlisle Finishing Plant, Elevate Textile, the company that owns the facility, stated that it was also working to help their employees get new jobs. The company is also working with Carlisle to try and help it deal with the challenge of getting its wastewater treated once Carlisle Finishing closes.

“We took part in a roundtable discussion on Thursday with Carlisle Finishing, DHEC, Catawba Regional Planning Council, the City of Union, Union County, the Department of Commerce and others about the issues involving the closing of the plant including the treatment of our wastewater,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “It is now going to be on us to get our wastewater treated and they (Carlisle Finishing) presented us with three options on doing so. We will be considering these options and will be meeting again on October 8.”

Ferguson-Glenn declined to reveal what those options were, beyond saying the Town is in the process of determining which would be the most feasible and planning accordingly.

“It is now going to be on us to decide how we can best continue to get our wastewater treated,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “This is going to be a big and costly decision for us as we will be the ones responsible for continuing to operate the system that treats our wastewater.”

By Charles Warner, Staff Reporter with The Union Daily Times