Where to locate a mandated regional wastewater treatment plant that the state said must discharge into the Cape Fear River has been debated throughout the Triangle and in parts of southeastern N.C. for years. Countless stories have been filed, few more unfair and incomplete than that in the Aug. 11 edition of the Independent Weekly ("Dumping on New Hill"), which all but ignores the last half of this decade.
Since 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has led an exhaustive, transparent and collaborative process to fairly apply the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements to the Western Wake Partners wastewater project. Scientists, engineers and just regular folks from New Hill, Chatham County, the EPA, the state and the partners have raised and turned every issue and alternative inside out and upside down. As many as 20 roundtable meetings and public hearings took place; thousands of pages of studies and findings were generated covering: discharging into Jordan/ Harris lakes, groundwater, wetlands, farmlands, wildlife, air quality, odor, noise, traffic, light spill, hazardous substances, global climate change, archaeological and historic properties, property values, low-income and minority communities, and safety.
At the end of it all, the Corps reached its independent decision that the site in the New Hill area of Apex is the overall best alternative since it has the least impacts. With that endorsement and several necessary permits now in hand, our full attention is on ensuring that the plant is the very best it can be. We're making sure that those who live nearby—many of whom have long suffered from failed septic tanks and contaminated wells—have access to safe, reliable and affordable water and sewer service as soon as possible. We're locating facilities so that 200 feet of forest stands forever between the plant site and our property line. These location and buffer decisions, coupled with advanced facility design and operations, will help ensure that our neighbors won't be negatively impacted by light, odor, traffic and noise.
Now and over the next several months, the partners will be focused on preparing and presenting plans for the wastewater plant site, which must go through a review process by the Town of Apex since the site is in Apex's corporate limits. We've already conducted one public review session, and we look forward to the next later this month.
For details, including photos and drawings of the site and facilities, visit the Bottom Line section of www.townofcary.org.
Editor's Note: Our 300-word limit for letters was raised to 400 for this response.