wastewaterNow that the interconnected wastewater system between Fearrington Village and Briar Chapel is no longer on the table, Fitch Creations, Inc., which owns and manages Fearrington Utilities, is once again managing our plant. We believe this is a good thing because our operator, John Poteat, knows what he is doing. As R.B. Fitch said, in the years prior to 2018 when we managed our own system, we received a total of three Notices of Violation (NOV). Once Envirolink took over we received many, many more. The Board also believes that billing will be much simpler. Fitch Utilities will bill for the entire year, and the rate will remain the same as it has been for the last three years. Those who prefer to pay over the course of the year will need to call to set that up.

You can also expect to see a lot of activity at the plant. First will be the smoke testing. You will soon be receiving a notice about this, if you have not already. Smoke testing will help determine whether extraneous flows might be entering the wastewater system, perhaps with rainwater getting into the pipes through failing joints, or holes caused by corrosion, or the invasion of tree roots. If you have plumbing upstairs in your house (toilet, shower, sink) that you haven’t used for a while, you could see smoke coming out of these pipes. Please don’t be alarmed; this is normal and not harmful in any way.

A bush hog contractor has also been hired to clear the area over the lines going from manhole to manhole throughout the community. It is expected that this work will begin within the next six months. It is important to keep vegetation from growing above the area of the pipes so that roots don’t infiltrate the system (see above). Also, we can access the system with vehicles and equipment when needed for testing, cleaning, emergencies, etc. Clearing has been done in Fearrington on a regular basis over the years, although it has not been done for a while.

Rose Krasnow and Fran Digiano met using Zoom with RB Fitch, Greg Fitch, and their engineer, John Phillips of Diehl and Phillips. They said they are hoping to completely rehab each of the three tanks by taking them offline one at a time. They will then sandblast the interior before recoating it. Since these are steel tanks, they believe this will extend the life for a considerable amount of time while keeping costs low. They also expect to replace corroded or failed metal pipes and wall sections within the plant itself, as needed, and to make some modifications that will enable them to remove nitrogen from the effluent. The plant currently operates under a 2011 permit that has no nitrogen reduction requirements, but they expect that will change in the future. We asked that they please look at ways to better control odor, which they thought they could do by increasing the size of the sludge holding tanks so that the sludge would not have to be removed as frequently.

We hope to work closely with them going forward so we can keep residents informed as to what to expect and when.

—Rose Krasnow (vp@fhaboard.org)