Asbestos and lead-based paint testing to be completed prior to public housing sewer project

Before the sewer project to improve the damaged Amhurst Garden apartments can begin, testing for asbestos and lead-based paint must take place, Public Housing Director Dr. Kim Scott toldĀ the Albemarle City Council during its meeting Monday night.

Stogner Architecture in Rockingham, which public housing has been working with to determine the severity of the sewer problem, has already received several bid proposals. The next step is for Stogner to meet with Scott and other public housing officials to decide which company will conduct the testing, which should begin in the coming weeks.

Public Housing has been in discussions with Stogner over the last month about testing for asbestos and lead-based paint, Scott said, adding that testing of that kind had not been completed on the units in the last 10 years.

“If we start the sewer line project and then we run into the asbestos and lead paint testing, what can happen, is it will certainly delay the process,” Scott told Council.

Though things could change, Scott told Council that as many as eight apartments would likely be included in the asbestos and lead testing.

“That’s a good thing that this is getting done up front and being taken care of immediately,” Councilman Benton Dry said.

Scott said the bid process for the sewer project should begin sometime early next year, as Stogner is currently helping other housing authorities in the state, including those in Durham and Wilmington.

“They have to spend their capital funds by January or February of 2023, so the bulk of the work that he is doing is with those housing authorities and that is why we have been pushed out to January or early February to start the actual sewer line project,” Scott said.

Concerned that more progress has not been made on the sewer project, which Council has been aware of for several months, Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall said the city needs to be proactive in its dealings with Stogner.

Twenty-two units in the public housing community have been identified as having plumbing problems and will be improved, provided there is enough funding. The total represents approximately 25 to 30 families, Scott told The Stanly News & Press earlier this year, about 15 percent of the 150 units in Amhurst Gardens.

Capital funding for the public housing department for fiscal year 2022 is $724,485, with funding for 2023-2026 expected to be $578,517 each year.