wastewater2020 has not been a year with a lot of good news, but we are happy to report that on October 20, 2020, ONSWC-Chatham North, LLC (Chatham North) and Old North State Water Company, LLC (ONSWC) filed to withdraw all the applications related to the transfer of the Fearrington Village wastewater system to Chatham North from the docket of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

In addition, Greg Fitch let us know that, as of January 1, 2021, Fitch Utilities, not Envirolink, will manage the Fearrington Village system. Fitch’s prior operations team, consisting of John Poteat, operator of record, and Ronnie Wright, a longtime Fitch Creations employee, will return to their previous roles. In addition, Fitch Utilities has plans to upgrade and renovate our existing plant in 2021 to help it meet today’s stricter standards for discharge of effluent into Jordan Lake. Moreover, our utility rates will remain the same for now ($259.97/year), and residents will be billed annually, although payment plans can be arranged. All of this is good news.

However, the work of the task force is not done. Our consulting engineer has produced an excellent report for us that looks at the remaining life of the existing plant and questions whether it might make more sense to completely rebuild the plant using one of the many new technologies available today. The report, which can be accessed on the FHA website, takes into account the fact that additional capacity will be needed if Fearrington Village is to continue to grow. But such expansion would have to occur within the basic footprint of our existing plant. It also recommends that any such expansion do everything possible to minimize noise and odors since a number of Fearrington Homes are located in close proximity. We have shared this report with Fitch Creations, and we expect to meet with them and their engineering team early in the new year to discuss possible options.

We also need to be vigilant because we realize that another utility could seek to buy the Fearrington system. We have no objection if Fitch Utilities were to be taken over by a reputable company that could then make the necessary onsite improvements. However, given the scope of development being proposed in the county, we also know that it is possible a provider might once again put forth some type of interconnected system. We want to make sure that the voices of our residents are being heard throughout any such discussions. For these reasons, our task force will continue to meet on a monthly basis, with additional meetings as needed.

—Rose Krasnow, vp@fhaboard.org