To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
We hope everyone is staying healthy during this challenging time. There is a lot going on right now, so we wanted to be sure to keep you up-to-date.
On 5/13/2020, the NCUC Public Staff filed a Motion to Delay for the evidentiary hearing. This will postpone the evidentiary hearing to September 2020 (date TBD) to allow NC DEQ more time to prepare to testify at this hearing.
On 5/14/2020, the NCUC granted the Petition to Intervene filed by the Fearrington Homeowners Association on 5/7/2020. Fearrington Homeowners Association, StopChathamNorth and the Briar Chapel Community Associate (BCCA) have now all been granted petitioner status in this matter.
For more information on the pending application and our petitions, go to Docket W-1300 Sub 55.
If you have information that you want to share with SCN’s legal counsel, please email your information to mailto:STOPCHATHAMNORTH@gmail.com.
Western Retention Pond
On 5/11/2020, ONSWC filed a permit modification request to convert an existing retention pond and transmission main from raw/potable water storage to reclaimed water storage. The retention pond (referred to as the western pond) is located in the back section of Encore behind Abercorn Circle. Referring to this google map – it is the large figure eight shaped pond on the left. Note, this pond has already been built, what they are asking for is to use it as a storage pond for treated wastewater, expanding their storage capacity for reclaimed water.
A resident sent us some pictures of the western retention pond that show that not only is the pond near maximum capacity (photo), but there is also a sign that appears to show that the pond is already being used to store reclaimed water (photo). It is our understanding that ONSWC is currently not permitted to use this pond to store reclaimed water.
We will continue to monitor the status of this permit modification request and activity at the pond.
New Information Available on Newland & ONSWC Agreements
Since 2009, Newland has entered into several agreements affecting Briar Chapel’s WWTP, first with Briar Chapel Utilities, LLC (2009) and later with ONSWC (starting in 2014). Until recently we had thought that there had only been one amendment to the Newland/ONSWC agreement, recently two other amendments have been posted by NCUC. These agreements explain a lot about what ONSWC is trying to do and Newland’s involvement behind many of these plans.
Here’s a brief overview of key elements of these agreements. If you want more detail, we have provided links to the agreements:
1. Briar Chapel Utilities, LLC, NNP-Briar Chapel (Newland) & ONSWC Purchase Agreement (10/31/2014) (Agreement starts on Page 49)
a. Requires ONSWC to pay Newland $1,500 connection fee per residential unit added to the system.
b. Requires ONSWC to pay all costs to expand BC WWTP from 250,000gpd to 600,000gpd.
c. Requires ONSWC to reserve 600,000gpd capacity from BC WWTP for Newland and their Extended Service Area (this includes Briar Chapel community and areas acquired by Newland outside of Briar Chapel).
d. With Newland’s approval, ONSWC may allocate unused capacity in the BC WWTP outside of the Briar Chapel development and ESA (areas acquired by Newland outside of Briar Chapel).
e. Conveys easements to all collection mains and force mains to ONSWC.
a. Terminates Agreement for Operations, Maintenance and Management Services, Billing and Collection Services that BCU had in place – necessary for ONSWC to hire Envirolink for these services.
a. Introduces an Odor Control Management Plan (Exhibit C – which is not included) that when established criteria are met, Newland will construct improvements to the WW utility system for odor control measures. Newland will pay the cost of these improvements and ONSWC will request cost of these improvements be in included in future rate increases for the WW system. ONSWC will reimburse Newland if rate increase is approved. [Note, this amendment pre-dates approvals for construction of Encore and other sections of Briar Chapel that are located close to the WWTP.]
a. Requires ONSWC to construct and operate a regional lift station, force main and return reclaimed line from the BC WWTP to SD East Commercial area by 3/31/2019. Connection to Fearrington WWTP in 2019, with discharge line operational by 12/31/2019. Agreement calls for regional pump station and force main capacity of 750,000gpd and discharge capacity of reclaimed water line to be 1,250,000gpd.
b. Requires ONSWC to expand BC WWTP, work to be completed and operational by 3/31/2020.
c. Requires ONSWC to reserve up to 600,000gpd of BC WWTP capacity for the Briar Chapel development and Newland’s extended service area (areas acquired by Newland outside of Briar Chapel).
d. Requires ONSWC to reserve 195,000 gpd of discharge capacity for Newland and its designees through the expanded Fearrington Village discharge permit.
e. Reduce or eliminate Newland’s obligations to build additional spray irrigation fields and ponds (because they will no longer be needed as a result of the discharge capacity available through the expanded Fearrington Village discharge permit) in excess of those needed to provide 400,000 gpd spray irrigation.
f. [Note, this amendment occurred before the transition of the BCCA HOA Board from developer-controlled to resident-controlled.]
Irrigation Has Started
ONSWC/Envirolink have started irrigation within Briar Chapel. Residents have been very helpful in reporting incidents of overirrigation and runoff of irrigation water into storm drains and creeks which is a violation of their permit. Video of irrigation leak across from Sports Courts / Video of overirrigation near Briar Chapel Parkway and Pokeberry Creek / Video by Pollard Middle School Please note that we have personally checked out each of these reports.
Over the last few weeks, we have received several inches of rain. There have been instances where ONSWC/Envirolink has continued to run the irrigation system during this inclement weather, which is also a violation of their permit. Picture across from the children’s playground / Picture on Briar Chapel Parkway
When we get these notifications from residents, we notify NCDEQ and pass the information to the BCCA Infrastructure Task Force who is working with Envirolink to try to resolve these issues.
ONSWC is also seeking approval from NCDEQ to add chlorine to the spray irrigation lines. We expect that NCDEQ will be giving their approval in the near future.
Please contact us at mailto:email@example.com if you experience any strong odors, discolored irrigation, oversaturation, pooling of irrigation water, runoff of irrigation water into storm drains/ponds/creeks, running of the irrigation system during inclement weather, or sinkholes caused by the irrigation system. Video and pictures are helpful.
It’s time to Document our Concerns
Thank you for documenting your complaints, concerns or questions to Envirolink. We have been surprised at the volume of complaints we have received since early February. The number of complaints have significantly exceeded the number of complaints reported by ONSWC/Envirolink in their response to testimony to the NCUC. While we regret that our residents are experiencing these issues, we believe this documentation will make a difference in showing that Briar Chapel residents have serious concerns that have been underreported.
It’s important to document any concerns or complaints that you personally experience with the Briar Chapel wastewater system (odor, runoff, spills, spray effluent pooling). Just a simple email works. If your concern can be documented with a picture (e.g., spills, spray effluent pooling), please attach any pictures you’ve taken of the incident to your email. It is imperative that we continue this effort. We also know that you experience some of these conditions over and over (i.e., odor) but again it is important to document these concerns each time you experience them.
When you have a complaint, Envirolink asks that you call their customer service number 252-235-4900. Please do so. To make sure your complaint is documented, we ask that you also email your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org and copy (cc) us at STOPCHATHAMNORTH@gmail.com. Your concern will only be tracked if you send the email.
Total contributions to date (as of 6/3/2020): $32,061.59
To date we have spent: $8,407.35
Total number of contributors: 342
We’d like to thank everyone who has already donated towards the cost of legal representation. These funds will be used to pay for our attorney’s representation at the NCUC hearing through to final decision. If you haven’t had a chance to make a donation yet, please consider doing this.
You can donate via PayPal by using this link:
If you prefer not to use PayPal:
You can write a check to: STOPCHATHAMNORTH and mail it to: STOPCHATHAMNORTH in care of Liz Rolison, 1900 Briar Chapel Parkway, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 or simply drop the check at Liz’s house.
We are maintaining a full accounting of these funds and will return any unused funds to all homeowners who contribute on a prorated basis. Thank you again for contributing. If we all work together, we have a better chance of achieving our goals.
StopChathamNorth is an unincorporated non-profit association representing concerned homeowners within Briar Chapel. StopChathamNorth does NOT support a regional wastewater treatment plant within the residential community of Briar Chapel. We are aware that there are a number of new communities surrounding Briar Chapel that are planning to utilize our WWTP, in addition to the current proposal to add Fearrington Village to our WWTP. We are opposed to all of these plans to expand Briar Chapel’s WWTP for uses outside of the Briar Chapel residential community. We also believe that the WWTP and ONSWC must be fully compliant with all governance and regulatory guidelines to ensure operations do not create nuisance, unhealthy or hazardous conditions for Briar Chapel residents.
For more information: www.stopchathamnorth.com