To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
We hope everyone is staying healthy and had a wonderful 4th of July. Here’s our latest updates.
Future Development that is Planning to use Briar Chapel’s WWTP
In our last email, we mentioned three developments that are in process of seeking approval from Chatham County Planning Board and Commissioners for plans that call for using the Briar Chapel WWTP. The first of these developments, Williams Corner (planned development of 540-apartments and commercial development on corner of Lystra Rd and 15/501) has a rezoning proposal before the Chatham County Commissioners that includes a commitment from ONSWC (Briar Chapel WWTP) to provide Williams Corner with offsite wastewater treatment and discharge. The public hearing for that proposal is tentatively scheduled for the CC BOC meeting on Monday, August 17th and will operate under a new remote meeting protocol. We’ve just been informed that the August 17th BOC meeting will also need to have a separate quasi-judicial hearing on an unrelated matter, and that this must be done before the Williams Corner hearing can begin.
In short, what was expected to already be a long meeting will likely be significantly longer, and Williams Corner will be at the tail end of it.
There will be separate signups for the two hearings, but preference will be given to those signing up for the quasi-judicial hearing first. For those choosing to appear in person to speak - once overflow rooms are full, the county will ask that Williams Corner speakers still not accommodated wait in their cars until the quasi-judicial hearing is over, at which point they can come in and take the vacated spaces. For those wishing to speak via GoTo Webinar online, there is a real possibility that they will be placed on a waitlist.
We need your help. Please contact the county commissioners and let them know that you want the Williams Corner public hearing scheduled for a time when it can have the Commissioners’ full, undivided attention. A sample letter is provided. Please feel free to edit and personalize your letter as preferred. Letters need to be received before the agenda for the July commissioner’s meeting is set; ideally by July 13, and no later than July 16.
Email your letter to:
Karen Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chair)
Diana Hales: email@example.com (Vice-Chair)
Mike Dasher: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Crawford: email@example.com
Andy Wilkie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsey Ray: Lindsay.email@example.com (County Clerk)
We will be encouraging residents to either participate in the public hearing or write to their county commissioners. We will send more details as we get closer to the date.
Fearrington Village WWTP Receives Notices of Violation
On June 24th, 2020, the NC DEQ issued three Notices of Violation for the Fearrington Village WWTP (Permit #: NC0043559). Since Envirolink took over operation of the Fearrington Village WWTP, the plant has received a total of 19 Notices of Violation. These three violations included:
1) Notice of Violation for exceeding total annual load limit for total phosphorus in 2018
2) Notice of Violation for exceeding total annual load limit for total phosphorus in 2019
3) Notice of Violation for findings from a site compliance inspection conducted 6/11/2020:
a. Digesters: Train #2 and #3 were almost full. Operator was only able to direct waste to Train #1
b. Secondary clarifiers: Overflow looked cloudy. Sludge blanket was high (more than 8 feet) in all three trains
c. Chemical feed: only 1 pump was operable for sodium aluminate feed – so only being fed into Train #1. Only 1 pump was available for caustic feed, the pump worked sporadically and needs repair, as a result, pH was less than 6 in Train #1 and #3
d. Aeration Basins: Some diffusers were clogged and not working, resulting in dead spots in aeration basins. Large amounts of foam noted at Train #3
e. Plant has exceeded total annual load limit for total phosphorus by end of April 2020 and has done so for the previous three years
Note, in Briar Chapel our treated wastewater is discharged through our spray irrigation system. In Fearrington Village, the treated wastewater is discharged directly into Bush Creek a tributary to the Haw River and Lake Jordan. On 6/29/20, we took video of the discharge from the Fearrington Village WWTP. (Video 1) (Video 2) Note, we have observed better water quality in the past, but as you can see that was not the case on this occasion.
Status of Permit Modification Request for Western Pond
On May 11th 2020, ONSWC filed a permit modification request to convert an existing retention pond 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.
On July 7, 2020, NCDEQ sent ONSWC a request for additional information needed to consider their permit modification request. Among the questions that ONSWC is asked to respond to:
1) Address if the Western Pond has been used to store reclaimed water? If so, for how long?
2) The property that the Western Pond is on is owned by NNP, Briar Chapel (Newland). Provide property ownership information.
Spray Irrigation Has Started
On June 15th, ONSWC received approval from NCDEQ to add a sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) injection to our spray irrigation. ONSWC requested this back in January as a deterrent to odors in the spray irrigation. We expect that ONSWC/Envirolink will be implementing this asap.
ONSWC/Envirolink has started irrigation within most of the common areas of 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. 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.
Please contact us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 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 has 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 email@example.com 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 7/7/2020): $32,303.50
To date we have spent: $11,539.07
Total number of contributors: 347
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