To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
It feels like things are starting to pick up momentum. We’ve got a couple of important updates that we want to share with you.
Chatham County Board of Commissioners Meeting – October 5th & 19th
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.
Before that decision is made, Nick Robinson (representing Newland) and Karen Kemerait (representing ONSWC) have requested time on the October 5th CC BOC meeting to make a presentation on wastewater operations and issues at Briar Chapel. We will also have an opportunity for public input at that meeting.
SCN’s position is that we are asking our CC BOC to not approve any additional development that would be connected to the Briar Chapel WW system until Integra Water/ONSWC have made the necessary upgrades / expansion to prevent the sewage spill issues, to prevent continuing odor issues and to provide adequate capacity for the additional development.
We are preparing for these meetings and there are two things that you could do to help us:
1) We are asking residents to sign a petition showing their support. We’ve been told that a petition would have more impact than the letter writing that we have encouraged in the past. Tomorrow we will send out a petition to everyone on our mail list and ask that you consider signing the petition.
2) We are asking you to consider a show of support by remotely attending the meeting via webinar (remote meeting format) for one or both of these meetings. We will send you the link to sign up for the webinar before each of these meetings. We have several speakers arranged, but we think it communicates a message if we have a lot of remote attendees watching the meeting.
Envirolink is Pulling Out of Briar Chapel
It is our understanding that as of 10/1/20 (this Thursday), Envirolink will no longer be operating any ONSWC wastewater treatment plants and/or collection systems. This includes Briar Chapel and seven other facilities across the state. This appears to have happened fairly quickly since we have not yet had any communication from Integra Water/ONSWC to let us know of the change in operators. We do not know who Mr. McDonald will be bringing in to operator the Briar Chapel WW treatment system. We have contacted Integra Water and asked that they notify us of who will be operating the system starting October 1st.
We also understand that Lee Bowman is no longer working for Envirolink. Lee has been uniquely involved in several different roles affecting the Briar Chapel WW system. Lee Bowman was Director of Project and Corporate Development for Envirolink since June 2019, heavily involved with the current application before the NCUC. Prior to that, he worked for Newland since 2005 as Senior Project Manager, responsible for the development of the Briar Chapel community. In his role with Newland, Lee Bowman served for several years on our developer-controlled HOA board. Most recently Lee had submitted an application for a new development, Durham Farms, that is planned on property off Andrews Store Road. This development proposes using the Briar Chapel WW system for their offsite wastewater treatment and discharge.
Finally, William Lamm (the current Briar Chapel Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC)) and Kenny Harris (our current backup ORC) have been reassigned to other locations/positions within Envirolink.
Sewage Spill on September 26th
On September 26th we had another sewage spill from a manhole on Great Ridge Parkway across from the dog park and Pump Station A. This was due to a mechanical failure at the pump station. Fortunately, a resident spotted this spill and reported it. William Lamm (Envirolink) was able to respond within 10-15 minutes and the spill was kept to a minimum. We have documented this sewage spill and reported to the NCDEQ.
Over the last four years, this brings us up to a total 28 sewage spills totaling almost 80,000 gallons (report of Sewage spills in Briar Chapel). We are also seeing a rise in the frequency of spills, with 7 of those spills having occurred since June 2020.
Update on August 20th Sewage Spill
On September 14th, NCDEQ issued a Notice of Violation with Intent to Assess Penalty to ONSWC for the August 20th sewage spill that occurred at Pump Station E located on Quarter Gate Trace. ONSWC self-reported this spill as 800 gallons with a duration of 72 minutes. The resident who lives next door to this pump station originally called in the spill @ 6pm. SCN observed Kenny Harris arriving to turn off the spill at 10:10pm. We have provided this information to NCDEQ.
Over the last four years, this brings us up to a total of 19 NOVs that NCDEQ has issued for 27 sewage spills with a total of 79,740 gallons of sewage, most of which has drained into surface waters and tributaries of Lake Jordan.
Irrigation Issue at Triangle Park
On September 26th @ 10:30am a resident found and reported a broken spray irrigation head that was flooding Triangle Park (at the corner of Hillcreek and Harlow Bend). We have documented and reported this problem to our HOA Infrastructure Task Force who works with Integra Water to resolve these issues.
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 9/27/2020): $33,866.05
To date, we have spent: $17,344.07
Total number of contributors: 354
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