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Looking for answers to water quality problems in Pittsboro

By Susan Bridgers
Posted Monday, March 5, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - Is anyone else looking for some answers on the water quality problems in Pittsboro? The mayor wrote to me after seeing my Chatlist post and I emailed back, asking for answers with dates and still haven't heard back. Please help by writing to him and your commissioner,too.

This is what was written:

Dear Mayor and Commissioners,

I live two lefts past Horton Middle School in the Magnolia Place development. You can look up my address: 25 Juniper Court, Pittsboro.

This email still doesn't tell when the problem will be solved. If you saw the notice that was sent, there was a date range when the problem occurred and the listing of the problems that will be caused: liver, kidney failure and cancer.

When the notice posed the question, "When will this be fixed," the notice's own answer was that the city had hired a contractor to look at developing a plan. Please understand that this is not a good answer.

Why not tell when the contractor was hired, when their plan is due, the date range of the plan's actions, and the date that the solution will be in place so that the public has a better idea of what the Town Manager is doing about the problem? Sounds like your only answer is to hire a contractor and provide no controls over the company. It is incumbent on you to provide accountability on this.

Please answer these questions directly.

Thank you.

************************************

Subject: Re: Water Quality

Dear Susan,

Do you live in the Pittsboro Corporate Limits or the County?

Commissioner Vanderbeck copied me on your post to the Chatlist as did my wife. The messages we send out refer to how our system has done over time. The results over the last five years are public record and mainly indicate that the system has difficulty at certain times maintaining an ever tightening regulatory noose. The State of NC has continued to raise the bar so to speak which has affected water systems all of the State including Pittsboro and Chatham County. In fact if you peruse the newspapers you will find systems large and small with a variety of issues including Durham and Cary.

We are diligently working to improve our system and our public works department is diligent and focused on providing the best possible water we can given the limitations of technology and the system we have.

Since I was elected in November of 2005 a number of improvements have been made at the water plant, the intake, the distribution system and the tanks. These improvements have been undertaken in response to recommendations from our management team and a desire by our town board to continually improve the infrastructure.

Please call me if you have further questions at 545-9624.

Thank you for your concern.

Randy Voller
Mayor of Pittsboro
randy..at..voller.org

************************************

Tom Vanderbeck wrote:

Hey Susan,

Thank you for expressing your concerns about the water notice. Your address indicates that you are on the Pittsboro water supply. I forwarded your note to Pittsboro's Mayor Randy Voller.

As you probably know, the municipalities and the county have different raw water sources. The county supply comes from Jordan Lake. The municipalities draw their raw water from our rivers. Pittsboro, specifically from the Haw. This raw water has high levels of organic (plant) material in it. Residuals of this organic material react with chlorine and produce trihalomethanes. There are various means to pretreat the water. It has been difficult to find the exact method/amounts necessary to reduce the organic material to a level that will not react with the chlorine.

Please rest assured that all of the municipalities and the county are working hard to find the solution to this problem, including implementing tougher stream buffer ordinances and storm water run off controls that would help limit the sediment and other contaminants from getting into our water.

Tom Vanderbeck

************************************

From: "Susan"
Date: 2007/02/02 Fri AM 08:54:56 EST
To: cthompson27207..at..peoplepc.com, glucier..at..earthlink.net, patrickbarnes..at..bellsouth.net, duckdogcross..at..aol.com, Tom..at..Vanderbeck4chatham.org

Subject: Water Quality

Dear Commissioners,

I'm quite disappointed that the repeated notices of unsafe water quality mailed to our homes do not contain an adequate explanation of WHEN the problems will be fixed. The notices also do not contain information on what residents can do to counteract the unsafe status prior to using it as drinking water. The notice mailed last week provides no end date nor plan to remedy the poor quality other than hiring a consultant. That sounds open-ended and fiscally irresponsible.

Please do more than hiring a consultant!

Send the officials of the water system to class and spend the money to make this county an acceptable place to live. I need to hear a plan with dates then notices with updates on the plan progress. Please ask the Town Manager to put this information in his alerts.

I'd also recommend our water officials visit Orange County's OWASA to learn how to do the job correctly, because that county continually manages to keep the water clean enough for drinking. Here I'm even afraid of letting the pets drink the water, given the information in the notices. This is an unreal situation given the high tech times we live in. There's got to be a better way. I'd appreciate the taxes I pay here to provide safe drinking water!

Please respond with your plans to correct the current water quality and the county and town operations of the water department. Thank you!

25 Juniper Court
Pittsboro, NC 27312

 
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