To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
We’ve got a couple of important updates that we want to share with you.
Chatham County Board of Commissioners Meeting – October 5th & 19th
As a reminder, on September 1st the Chatham County Planning Board voted unanimously (10-0) to deny the final plat approvals for Phase 13, Section 3, and Phase 14.
Newland’s request for final plat approval for Phase 13, Section 3, and Phase 14 will now go to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners (CC BOC) at their October 19th meeting for their final decision. The request will have a recommendation to approve from the Planning Dept. staff and a recommendation to deny from the Planning Board. We will have an opportunity for public input at that meeting.
At the October 5th CC BOC meeting, Nick Robinson (representing Newland) and Karen Kemerait (representing ONSWC) have requested time to make a presentation to the Board of Commissioners on wastewater operations and issues at Briar Chapel. We will also have an opportunity for public input at that meeting.
These meetings allow us to make a case to the CC commissioners and to get both our position and the commissioners’ on record. We’ll keep you informed and let you know how you can help.
Both meetings will be using the new remote meeting format. If you are interested in attending this meeting remotely via webinar, we will send you the link to register when we get closer to the date.
Anticipate Further Rescheduling of NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) Evidentiary Hearing
In January, the original NCUC evidentiary hearing was postponed until June 2020 based on a request by the Public Staff to give those who had come forward time to prepare. In May, the NCUC again postponed the hearing to September, requesting more time to prepare. Although nothing has yet been announced by NCUC, we are hearing that they are backed up (due to Covid and hearings for Duke Energy rates) and that our hearing will likely be pushed back further. While we would all like to see this situation resolved as soon as possible, we do not anticipate any further updates until after the Duke Energy Rate hearings are completed on September 26, 2020.
September 4th Email from John McDonald
On September 4th, Mr. McDonald (Owner of Integra Water and 95% owner of ONSWC) sent an email outlining his plans for bypassing the current force main that runs from Pump Station A to the WWTP. The plan is to add a new section of pipeline running from behind Pump Station A (beside dog park on Great Ridge Parkway) to the SD East pipeline built in 2018-2019 to connect to Fearrington Village, bypassing entirely the current force main. This is a significant change that will require approvals from NCDEQ, Chatham County, and the HOA. Other than Mr. McDonald’s email, we have not seen evidence of designs or applications that would indicate these plans are moving forward.
Note, that of the 27 sewage spills that have occurred in Briar Chapel over the last four years, 15 of them have been due to pipe failure of the force main. The other 12 sewage spills have occurred in a variety of locations and were caused by different issues. (Graph of Briar Chapel Sewage Spills) Mr. McDonald has not disclosed any plans for upgrades or improvements in the locations where the other 12 spills have occurred.
Update on June 22nd Sewage Spills
On June 22nd, ONSWC cut over to the newly installed 1000’ section of HDPE force main. Shortly after that cutover, they had three sewage spills: 100 gallons, 5,000 gallons, and 2,000 gallons. On Sept. 9th, NCDEQ issued a Notice of Violation & Assessment of Civil Penalty for $2,135 for the two larger spills.
Update on July 26th Sewage Spill
On August 14th, NCDEQ issued a Notice of Violation & Intent to Assess Penalty to ONSWC for the July 23rd sewage spill from a manhole below Lift Station B off Great Ridge Parkway/Saxapahaw Bend (2,000 gallons) and the larger sewage spill on July 26th at pump station A off Great Ridge Parkway due to a pipe break (8,400 gallons).
We are told that NCDEQ is still investigating the July 26th spill and has asked ONSWC to provide information on how they arrived at the self-reported duration of the spill (150 minutes) and the volume of the spill (8,400 gallons).
ONSWC did submit their July Non-Discharge Monitoring Report which shows several unusual items:
· July 1st -July 24th – First 3.5 weeks of the month, ONSWC reported an average flow of 199,345 gpd (this is typical)
· July 23rd – Daily flow reported dropped significantly to 136,500 gpd. This was the day ONSWC had a sewage spill from a manhole near Pump Station B. They self-reported that 2,000 gallons was spilled
· July 24th – Daily flow jumped to 370,500 gpd (which we believe was caused in part by the emptying of the community pool which occurred the day before)
· July 25th-July 27th – ONSWC reported daily flow of 6,167 gpd for three days. Note, July 26th from 11am – 5:30pm was the large sewage spill at Pump Station A. ONSWC reported only 8,400 gallons for this spill, given what we witnessed we believe the volume of the spill was underreported
· July 25th – July 31st – For the last week of the month, ONSWC reported an average flow of 77,300 gpd. This is significantly lower than the typical average daily flow levels.
Update on August 20th Sewage Spill
On August 20th, a sewage spill occurred at Pump Station E located on Quarter Gate Trace. A resident first reported the spill to Integra Water @ 6 pm and an Envirolink operator arrived at 10:10 pm to turn off the source of the spill and tape off the area. We’ve documented and reported this spill to NCDEQ, but as of yet, there has not been any Notice of Violation or SSO Report posted on their website.
SCN was on-site at this spill. We noted that there is a stormwater drain located directly outside of the lift station gates. Unfortunately, this was the area where the sewage pooled allowing most of this sewage to drain into the storm drain.
It’s time to Document our Concerns
Thank you for documenting your complaints and concerns. In the past, ONSWC has argued that they have received very few complaints and those they have received have been responded to and resolved. It’s important that we document, the true volume of resident complaints and concerns. 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 9/16/2020): $33,817.80
To date, we have spent: $11,539.07
Total number of contributors: 353
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 donate 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 several 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 a nuisance, unhealthy or hazardous conditions for Briar Chapel residents.
For more information: www.stopchathamnorth.com