Briar Chapel resident group petitions to intervene in regional wastewater decision

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 3/20/20

CHAPEL HILL — A group of Briar Chapel homeowners want in on the N.C. Utilities Commission’s deliberations over allowing the neighborhood’s wastewater treatment plant to become a …

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Briar Chapel resident group petitions to intervene in regional wastewater decision

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Posted

CHAPEL HILL — A group of Briar Chapel homeowners want in on the N.C. Utilities Commission’s deliberations over allowing the neighborhood’s wastewater treatment plant to become a regional one.

StopChathamNorth, a quasi-homeowners association of more than 1,700 Briar Chapel residents, filed a petition before the NCUC on Thursday seeking to “participate fully as a party in these dockets.”

Old North State Water Company, which operates the Briar Chapel Wastewater Treatment Plant, is seeking NCUC approval for redirecting wastewater from Fearrington Village to Briar Chapel and expanding the WWTP’s footprint to handle the new intake. Large numbers of Briar Chapel residents have expressed concern over ONSWC’s previous handling of wastewater within the neighborhood, citing poor customer service, bad odor coming from the current treatment plant and improper dispersion of reclaimed water.

The petition said the purchase of the BCWWTP by Chatham North, a separate entity owned by ONSWC President Michael Myers, “could affect rates associated with the Briar Chapel wastewater system and adversely impact what Petitioner’s members already consider to be unsatisfactory wastewater treatment services.” Additionally, residents say that “on information and belief” additional developments could access the plant — “In effect, Chatham North seeks to locate a regional waste water treatment facility located in the Briar Chapel subdivision.”

The petition was filed by lawyer Brady Allen of The Allen Law Offices in Raleigh.

According to commission documents, the NCUC is slated to conduct an evidentiary hearing starting at 10 a.m. on June 16 in the Commission’s Hearing Room in Raleigh. Prior to the meeting, Chatham North, ONSWC and Fitch Creations, the entity that owns Fearrington Village, can “file supplemental direct expert witness testimony” related to resident complaints by May 1. NCUC Public Staff and any intervenors, including StopChathamNorth if approved, can file expert testimony by May 14, and Chatham North, ONSWC and Fitch Creations can reply by May 29.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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