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Chiefland sewer project under way

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Recent construction activity along Chiefland streets is slated to continue for several months.
The city is in the process of installing sewer lines for residences along 4th, 6th and 8th streets, which are currently using septic tanks. Existing clay pipes in the Hardeetown area are also being retrofitted and stabilized with a vinyl liner, and new manholes are scheduled to soon be upgraded in areas along 1st and 3rd streets behind City Hall.
City Financial Coordinator Laurie Copeland said Wednesday the projects should wrap up some time in February or March.
A total of 39 homes will benefit from connecting to city sewer, Copeland said. Connection is mandatory, but fees totaling about $1,800 for connection have been waived by the city, a "leverage" factor that Copeland said contributed to the city being one of the top choices in the state for the $650,000 state grant that is funding the project.
"This was a very competetive cycle," Copeland said about the grant process. But the city earned points for waiving the fees and contributing up front about $25,000 for pre-construction plans, she said.
"They ( the state ) didn't fund a whole lot," she said. And out of 15 or so projects chosen for the state, Chiefland was at the top of the list.
The money and fee waivers contributed by the city are a bit of a financial strain, she said, but they pay off in the end, bolstering the city's appeal through added infrastructure and environmental responsibility.
In past projects, she said, contractors have often noted that existing septic systems were failing.
This can, potentially, cause issues for for the fragile aquifer not far below the surface of the porous rock the area is known for.
"And we have other pockets," too, Copeland said, explaining that future sewer projects would most likely focus on the south west part of town.
"We want to strive to get everybody on sewer," she said, adding that "We try to be very smart with the money, and we do the best things we can for the citizens."