New Wastewater Treatment Plan Paves The Way for Job Growth In Hoke County


A new wastewater treatment plant in Hoke County is expected to generate cost savings to local residents while also boosting the business recruitment potential of the county and the Southeastern Region.
“We see the construction of the wastewater treatment plant as an investment in the future of Hoke County,” said James Leach, chairman of the Hoke County Board of Commissioners. “This plant will benefit the citizens of the county for many years.”
LKC Engineering, an Aberdeen civil engineering firm, designed the three-phase Intermittent Cycle Extended Aeration System (ICEAS). Wharton Smith Construction Group built the $10 million system. The facility is located on Ellis Road in the Rockfish area.
“The system holds 1.5 million gallons, but we can also retrofit it to hold three million gallons at top capacity,” said Hilton Villines, utilities director for Hoke County. “It’s a lot cleaner,” Villines said.
In building the facility, county officials tapped various grants and loan programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Lumbee River EMC. Wastewater from the area had previously been treated contractually. Having its own treatment plant now frees Hoke County from that $300,000 annual expense.
“It’s exciting because it’s the newest technology in the sewer industry,” said Letitia Edens, Hoke County Manager. “It’s state of the art.”
County leaders expect the new wastewater treatment plant to facilitate job growth in Hoke County through increased opportunities for business recruitment. “It’s a game-changer for the county,” said Don Porter, executive director of Raeford/Hoke Economic Development. “Quality infrastructure remains the lifeblood of modern industry,” Porter said. “It’s a must-have in recruiting businesses and creating jobs.”
Steve Yost, president of The Southeastern Partnership, said Hoke County’s industry-ready infrastructure is fundamental to the economic success both locally and regionally. “The system will help attract industry, but will also support the impressive commercial and residential growth that has taken place in that part of our region,” Yost said. “My hat is off to Hoke County for creating such a high-quality economic development asset.”
A public-private partnership headquartered in Elizabethtown, N.C., The Southeastern Partnership collaborates with county governments in seeking to “provide strong economic development leadership in southeastern North Carolina through innovative marketing and collaborative regional initiatives that will support the creation of new jobs, generate capital investment, and secure new business locations.” Member counties include Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Wayne.
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Don Porter
Raeford/Hoke Economic Development