Mayor Eulis Willis of Navassa received a call for assistance. After that call, he took action and started a chain of events that solved a major problem. Contractors were preparing the lot for the third Habitat for Humanity home in Navassa but they couldn’t locate the sewer connection!
“My first reaction was to verify that the land lot where work was to take place did, in fact, have a sewer connection in place,” Mayor Willis says. He explains that sewer installation was completed in 2003 in that section of town but construction there has been intermittent. He confirmed that a connection was available, so he took the next step and called H2GO, which provides water and sewer service to communities in the northern part of Brunswick County. The Mayor was asking for help with a unique situation.
“We were more than willing to help out Navassa,” says Bob Walker, executive director of H2GO. He explains that the company owns specialty equipment, including a camera that can find the missing connection. It will find unidentified sewer taps on undeveloped lots and where there are any water leaks. “We use it frequently,” he says.
Steve Hall and Keith Gore are the company workers who hold an Operator in Responsible Charge, Collection Grade 4 License from the state and they located the sewer lateral for Habitat within two hours.
Hall further explains that the camera is a special sewer remote control device tethered to a television screen with a cable. The pair lowered the camera into the main gravity sewer line and looked for the lateral tie-ins to this main line. Once they found it, they withdrew the camera and measured the length of the cable from the entrance to where it stopped.
“And we know exactly where the lateral is,” Hall says. “The camera is the easiest way to find the lateral.”
He says this procedure is a common occurrence. “We do it all the time,” he says. “There was nothing unusual about the job. We appreciate the opportunity to help the people of Navassa.”
Willis says H2GO did not charge an extra fee for the service. “I was pleased because this fits right in with our motto, “People working for People.”
In an email, Hope Shirley, executive director of Brunswick County Habitat for Humanity, writes, “We are very excited to be building our third Habitat Home in Navassa and are appreciative of the help provided by H2GO and the Town of Navassa in locating the sewer connection for this home.”
“I’m glad we were able to help out,” Walker says.
“They called and they needed help,” Hall says. “We went over and solved the problem.”
Tyler Wittkofsky, H2GO public information officer, explains that the legal name for H2GO is Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, formerly North Brunswick Sanitary District. However, since the company encompasses more than sanitation, it changed its name about seven years ago. In a press release he states that Navassa has helped H2GO in the past and by returning the support, it was giving life to “people helping people.”
Willis adds that this incident is an example of a small town creed that can be used to make life in rural northern Brunswick County more pleasant for all citizens regardless of “turf ties.”
Brunswick County Habitat for Humanity has built more than 50 homes since its inception in 1994. Volunteers build the homes along with the sweat equity of the beneficiary families, who buy the homes with no-interest loans. Families receiving these homes must live in Brunswick County, prove they need to receive affordable housing, be able to pay back the loan and be willing to help in building the home.