A new sewer system is triggering health concerns in Oak Island. Residents are concerned that the way the system has been installed, could compromise their drinking water. Concern over this new sewer system began when it became public knowledge that some of the sewer lines were put in above the lines carrying the town's drinking water. One concerned resident, Earl Wallace, said, "It's concerning in that if you go get a glass of water you don't know what's in there and you have to look - gives a whole other meeting to bottoms up." Traditional "gravity" sewer lines aren't allowed to be constructed above water lines, but Oak Island Mayor Johnie Vereen said the lines being put in on Oak Island use a vacuum collection system and aren't subject to the same state guidelines. "Our sewer staff has been meeting with the folks in Raleigh to determine how we're supposed to handle this problem we need direction from them." Vereen went on to say, "The question I have is how did this happen? Who was responsible for these lines to be installed in this manner?" The engineering company hired to plan the project sent an email denying any fault. They said contractors did not follow their plan when building the lines, and now do not meet current state standards. The mayor says the contractors didn't see a problem in putting the sewer lines over the water lines. "The two contractors that have been talked to couldn't even believe that this had come up." The new sewer lines being built will have an iron casing around them to prevent any leaks. The lines already in the ground will not be fixed until the issue of regulating "vacuum-type" sewer systems comes up at the state level next month. The mayor believes repairs will cost an additional $200,000, on top of the new sewer's $100 million price tag. The mayor said even if repairs are necessary, the new sewer should still be finished on time, which is scheduled to be in May of 2010.
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