By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLAND, Va. —
A multi-million-dollar infrastructure project will soon be bringing wastewater treatment lines into the town of Bland.
County Administrator Eric Workman said the closest wastewater treatment plant to the town of Bland is in Bastian, approximately five miles away.
“Currently, in the Bland community there are no wastewater facilities,” Workman said. “Bastian is the only community in the area with wastewater treatment. Right now, everyone in the Bland community is on septic, package plans or disposing of their wastewater themselves.”
Workman said the goal of the project is to extend wastewater treatment lines across Brushy Mountain and connect Bland to the wastewater treatment plant.
“With this project, we will be able to expand our treatment area,” Workman said. “Our public service district has applied and received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to build a force main to pump wastewater across Brushy Mountain to Bastian. In addition to the force main, there will be construction of a gravity wastewater line. The entire project is just line work, not the construction of a new wastewater facility.”
The project is being financed through a mix of grant funds and low-interest loans, Workman said.
“We were approved of a grant totaling $1,340,000 from the USDA’s Rural Development grant program,” he said. “We have also received a low-interest government loan totaling $6,590,000 to be paid back at 2 percent interest over the next 40 years. We are hoping to spend less than the amount we have taken out.”
Workman said officials are hoping to break ground on the project as soon as possible.
“At the current time, we are bidding out for engineers,” Workman said. “The bids are due Nov. 1 and then we will begin interviews. We hope to award the contract by Dec. 1 and start construction as soon as the design is complete.”
When the project is complete, Workman said the town of Bland will be able to develop more commercial properties along Interstate 77.
“This project has been in the works for six years, so you could say the project has been in waiting for a while,” he said. “Not only will this provide wastewater facilities that people presently don’t have access to, but it will provide wastewater treatment to existing business and help us to develop our commercial properties along the interstate and our interstate exit.” t