To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
In this email you will find information about:
1. A major irrigation spill of reclaimed water that occurred this week.
2. Update from recent meetings with Chatham County Commissioners on WW issues.
3. Updates on the Tri-Party Council.
Major Irrigation Spill
On July 14th, a resident alerted us that water was running down the trail (located by the parking area on Catullo Road just past the entrance to the new townhouse development). When we went to investigate, we found the source of the water. A PVC pipe had been run from one of the Reclaimed Water boxes. The PVC pipe ran above ground, into the woods and was covered by the undergrowth. We found two discharge points with valves to allow it to be cut on and off. The water was coming out full force from a 4” pipe, creating a large pond that was overflowing onto the trails. Here’s video of what we found: Video1, Video2, Video3. Note, this type of discharge is a violation of ONSWC’s permit.
We immediately called ONSWC customer service and reported the discharge. We then notified NCDEQ, the BCCA, First Residential, Integra Water and the operator in charge at the Briar Chapel WWTP. We have not yet received any response or explanation for this discharge.
Recent Meetings with Chatham County Commissioners
In June and July we met with all five of the Chatham County Commissioners. We had several objectives in these meetings:
1. Ensure the commissioners are aware of the recent tax devaluations that have affected homeowner properties located near Briar Chapel’s WWTP.
2. Draw their attention to the violations/problems that have been reported across the 12 privately owned wastewater systems in northeastern Chatham County. Briar Chapel is not the only WW system that is having problems.
3. Voice support for a recent proposal to have Chatham County initiate a Study Commission with public and private sector experts to study potential wastewater options for northeastern Chatham County that could provide a long term, sustainable solution.
There appears to be growing support by the Town Manager and the Commissioners to launch a Study Commission to assess options for wastewater. Chatham County is working hard to move to a Unified Development Ordinance and they see the Study Commission as an important input into this process.
BCCA Announces Member Engagement Sessions
On July 13th, the BCCA announced that the public comment portion of the BCCA board meetings will be discontinued. Instead, they will have separate meetings called Member Engagement Sessions which are planned for once every two months.
These sessions will be conducted via Zoom. Residents who wish to speak must email BCCA@briarchapellife.com by noon the day before the meeting identifying the topic they wish to discuss. Each speaker will be given up to 5 minutes to speak. Board directors may ask questions at the end of each speaker’s time and may make assignments and motions, if needed. Robert’s Rule of Order will apply. The first session is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20th at 7pm. To register to attend this session (as either a speaker or attendee), register at this link.
We question why the BCCA board has decided to continue to use Zoom for board meetings and these sessions. Despite this concern, we hope this new approach will provide increased opportunities for resident input and meaningful two-way communication with the BCCA board. We hope that residents will take advantage of this opportunity and look forward to community feedback on this approach.
Status Update on Tri-Party Agreement
Here’s the latest information we have on the status of the work outlined in the Tri-Party Agreement:
· The force main bypass was certified and put into service on June 3rd. This replaces force main A which has been the source of so many pipe failures. We hope this will significantly reduce the number of sewage spills in our community.
· Work on the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) expansion to 500,000 gpd is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. NCDEQ has approved the permit to allow the odor control improvements to be added as part of this expansion.
· NC DEQ is reviewing two additional permit modification requests from ONSWC (which will increase spray irrigation capacity to just over 500,000 gpd) that would convert some existing spray irrigation from potable to reclaimed water (e.g., Encore residential homes) and allows the construction of some additional spray irrigation fields (area north and south of Western retention pond and in common areas within Encore and behind Cliffdale homes). At the last BCCA Board Meeting, Jerry Cole confirmed that NCDEQ will not allow trails in the spray irrigation areas planned around the Western Pond. We expect this additional irrigation to be approved soon. In the meantime, irrigation in Encore will start with potable water since conversion to reclaimed water has not yet been approved.
· The BCCA will do irrigation sampling and testing in Encore and other areas of the community.
· The last meeting of the Tri-Party Council was July 13th. Meeting notes are not yet available from that meeting.
Documenting our Concerns
We are extremely thankful for the information shared with us by BC residents. We need to continue to document resident’s complaints/concerns, particularly odor and spray irrigation issues. To date, residents have reported over 500 complaints about spills, odor conditions, irrigation and other issues. When you have a complaint, please call ONSWC’s customer service number 877-511-2911. To make sure your complaint is documented, we ask that you also email your concern to us at STOPCHATHAMNORTH@gmail.com. We will make sure your complaint is shared with all the appropriate parties (ONSWC, NCDEQ, BCCA board, First Residential, Chip White), documented and tracked.
Total amount donated: $51,750.23 (505 families contributing)
Spent to date: $42,603.06 (Legal: $35,317.50, Engineering Expert: $6,142.00, Administrative: $1,143.56)
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 contributors taking into account the weighted average cost to contribution basis. Thank you again for contributing.
StopChathamNorth is an incorporated non-profit 501(c)(4) social welfare 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. 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