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Aqua NC approached Chatham County about long-term plans to purchase water

By Donna Kelly
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - to supply customers in the northeastern portion of the county. The proposal was discussed at the November 19 Board of Commissioners work session. Aqua NC currently provides water to almost 900 customers in the county and also services about 2300 wastewater connections. They provide water and wastewater systems for developments. Some of their water is provided from wells but they also purchase some water from Chatham County and Pittsboro. If they purchase water from the county they are responsible for all necessary infrastructure required to tap into existing county water lines.

The primary driver of this request from Aqua NC's view is the proposed expansion of Colvard Farms for which they currently provide water and wastewater service. They also see the potential to serve customers on the east side of the lake. The driver from the county's view is to provide a possible water supply for residents east of the lake. This could give developers an option to avoid Cary annexation in order to get water. Although it will be at least a couple years before they would need the water they need to know that they can get water before they start any serious work on infrastructure.

Since the request for water is for the northeast portion of the county the water would most likely come from our existing contract with Durham. Actually, although the existing Colvard Farms development is in Chatham, the proposed expansion will extend into Durham County. During the discussion the question was raised about the 751 project in Durham. Aqua NC has had discussions with them and there might be a connection there in the future. Further discussion made it clear that our contract with Durham does not allow us to sell water back into their service area so the first step was to clarify their service area and ensure that any proposal did not violate our contract. We also don't want to damage our relationship with Durham since they are a partner in the future regional water treatment plant.

It became clear during the discussion that there were a lot of potential pitfalls to the whole proposal and it may prove to be unfeasible rather quickly. It was decided to start work on a contract to make sure all bases were covered and to see what was feasible from both the county's perspective as well as Aqua NC's. At this week's BOC meeting there was a brief discussion that Durham has made it clear they do not want water sold back to their area. There will most likely be an update by staff at the January meeting.

Although it would be nice to be able to offer another option for water east of the lake, I'm not too optimistic this will work out at this time but we'll find out more in January.

 
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