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Some southeast Chatham areas may lose chance for county water

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008

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Pittsboro, NC - Unless more southeastern Chatham residents living on certain roads sign up and pay the reduced rate tap fee for county water service by Sept. 10, 2008, they run the risk of not having county water service in their area. “This means that even if they don’t want to be Southeast Water District customers now, they may well be shutting the door on that option for the future,” said Roy Lowder, director of Water Utilities.

The water system is required to have at least 10 customers per mile of road, but this is prorated for shorter roads. For example, a half-mile of road requires five customers. When this minimum is not met, “it means that we cannot afford to put waterlines on those roads or along some sections of roads,” Lowder said. (NOTE: See list of affected roads at the end of the article).

To those residents who have already paid up, “we need you to contact your neighbors and urge them to apply for county water. You may end up without county water if they don’t sign on in time,” Lowder said.

“I recognize that this is a hard decision for some people to make. Your well system may be working just fine today, but that situation can change very quickly for many reasons,” Lowder said. “The big risk is that down the road, you may need public water and it won’t be there. Your options for the future are very limited.”

It also may mean that some homes or businesses in critical need of county water may be left out. “It’s also important to note that not having public water throughout the area could impact the ability of existing businesses to expand or to recruit new businesses to the area,” Lowder added.

The 90% discount on the tap fee is a major incentive that residents should consider. “It won’t get any cheaper than $500 to tap on to the system,” Lowder said. “However, the $500 fee must be paid by Sept. 10th and we also must receive a completed water service application by then as well.”

The tap fee automatically jumps from $500 to $4,500 once the waterlines have been installed beyond your address. “A $500 fee to connect to county water is a good deal to ensure future access to a safe, adequate water supply,” Lowder said.

Lowder said that he is concerned that many residents don’t know about the availability of county water coming to southeastern Chatham or may have misconceptions about what it means to have county water.

He said that residents have reported rumors that signing up for county water means that their wells will be condemned and they won’t be able to use their well water. “This is not true. In fact, people can continue to use their well water for farming, landscaping, washing cars or any other outdoor purposes, but not for indoor household use.”

Lowder added that the county also has an ample water supply, another common misconception. “Even at the worst of last year’s drought, Jordan Lake was in better shape than just about any public water reservoir in the state. It is a well-designed reservoir with a large watershed area. Our customers also did a great job of conserving water when they were asked to do so.”

The county has negotiated additional water capacity for the future through the City of Durham and is looking at other options as well.

Lowder said that it is important for potential customers to know that the county’s water meets very stringent federal quality standards, whereas well water quality can vary widely. Water for the Southwest District will come from both the county’s treatment plant on Jordan Lake and the City of Sanford.

“Both sources meet quality standards on a consistent basis,” Lowder said. “”We have made several successful adjustments to our water treatment process in the past year so that water from our treatment plant consistently meets federal standards,” Lowder said.

The Southeast Water District roads that are in need of additional paid customers are:

* Asbury Church

* Center Grove Church Rd

* Chatham Church

* E. Gargus

* Gade Bryant

* Gum Springs Church

* Gynnis Creek Rd

* Henley Mill Subdivision

* Lower Thrift

* L W Burns

* Lydia Perry

* Mays Chapel

* Meadowview Drive

* Moncure School

* Moncure Flatwood

* Moncure Loop

* Nassau Trail

* NC Hwy 42 (from Christian Chapel Rd to Harnett County)

* New Elam Church

* Old Chestnut Crossing

* Old Sanford

* Partain

* Red Hill Lane

* River Forks

* River Point Rd

* Rosser

* Rufus Jordan

* Shaddox

* Taylors Chapel

* Truth

* Weaver Crossing (Trail)

To request a Southeast District Water Service Application or to ask questions, call 919-542-8270. Those with internet access also can apply online at: http://www.chathamnc.org/Index.aspx?page=530

 
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