To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
We’ve got a couple of important updates that we want to share with you.
Chatham County Commissioner Meeting – Williams Corner
Thank you to everyone who responded by signing up for the public hearing and sending in letters to the Chatham County Commissioners. The public hearing for the rezoning request by Bold Development for Williams Corner has been postponed indefinitely on the request of Bold Development Group.
We were advised that the county received a request on Friday afternoon to take the application off the public hearing schedule, noting “the sole reason for this request has to do with the current uncertainty surrounding operational issues with the Old North State Water Company (ONSWC) and its sewer system. Applicant believes it is best to wait to see if that situation achieves a higher degree of resolution before it proceeds further.”
Bold Development has the right to request that the public hearing be rescheduled in the future. We will monitor this and keep you updated accordingly.
Chatham County Planning Board puts Newland Final Plat Request on Hold
On Tuesday, August 4th, the Chatham County Planning Board met to consider a request for final plat approval on behalf of NNP Briar Chapel, LLC (Newland) for final plat approval of Briar Chapel, Phase 13 Section 3, consisting of 59 lots located off Great Ridge Parkway.
Members of StopChathamNorth testified requesting that the Planning Board place this request on hold until Newland, Integra Water and ONSWC can come together to make the necessary repairs and upgrades to the Briar Chapel wastewater system to ensure that our wastewater system is safe and scalable to support the Briar Chapel community. Prior to the Planning Board meeting SCN provided videos of the July 26th raw sewage spill ( Video 1 , Video 2, Video 3 )and a copy of the email that Mr. McDonald sent to the residents of Briar Chapel on July 27th, 2020.
We are pleased to report that the Planning Board voted unanimously to put the request on hold for further discussion at their September 1st, 2020 meeting. They referenced concerns for the “health, safety and welfare of the community” and requirements contained within the Compact Community Ordinance. The Planning Board said they would like Newland to provide an independent review of the Briar Chapel Wastewater Treatment System to determine if it was “up to meeting the needs” of this community. The planning board emphasized the need to get this decision right since it would have bearing not only on the completion of Briar Chapel, but potentially other development that is planning to use Briar Chapel’s wastewater system in the future.
Newland’s legal counsel (Nick Robinson) argued that Newland was not accountable for the actions of a third party (ONSWC). While he acknowledged that Newland had constructed and operated the WWTP, the sewer piping and spray irrigation system, he argued that there is no evidence that the problems with the Briar Chapel wastewater system weren’t due to operator error or maintenance problems. Mr. Robinson felt this was not a concern for the Planning Board and should be deferred to NC DEQ.
We are encouraged that the Planning Board is taking the issues we’ve experienced in Briar Chapel seriously by investigating the steps they can take to ensure confidence in the stability and adequacy of the Briar Chapel wastewater system before approving further development in Briar Chapel.
For those interested, here’s a recording of the CC Planning Board Meeting. We recommend that you download, before viewing.
Update on July 26th Sewage Spill
Cleanup by ONSWC after this spill, involved spreading lime and a light covering of straw.
We are waiting on NC DEQ to post ONSWC’s official 5-day sanitary sewage overflow report of the incident, but ONSWC published an account in the Chatham Journal self-reporting that the spill allowed a discharge of 8,400 gallons of untreated wastewater into Pokeberry Creek. Note, they are required to publish a press release for any spills over 1,000 gallons within 24 hours of the spill. Having witnessed that the spill continued unabated for 4.5 hours before crews/equipment arrived to fix the broken pipe, we are curious how ONSWC arrived at their estimate of 8,400 gallons.
We are waiting on further word from Mr. McDonald on when Integra Water/ONSWC plans to replace the force main within Briar Chapel with stronger materials (as indicated in his July 27th email).
The sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) injection to our spray irrigation has been installed and certified. ONSWC requested this back in January as a deterrent to odors in the spray irrigation.
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, Integra Water asks that you call their customer service number 877-511-2911. Please do so. To make sure your complaint is documented, we ask that you also email your concern to us at STOPCHATHAMNORTH@gmail.com. Your concern will only be tracked if you send the email.
Total contributions to date (as of 8/10/2020): $33,667.80
To date we have spent: $11,539.07
Total number of contributors: 352
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