By Kent Hayes
ere are some additional facts about the private sewer plant planned for one subdivision of 200 homes in Weddington. In the public hearing the developer for the subdivision has explained the planned private sewer plant can not provide enough irrigation water for the development. The rest of the irrigation water has to come from a potable water natural resource, wells drilled on site. In this area, wells are drilled in rock strata, not actually a collection pool of water or aquifer. The water withdrawn will effect the area’s stored water table, not the wet season runoff in Mundy’s Creek basin.
Another use of potable well water is required when you calculate the millions of gallons of potable well water required to keep the eight acres of overflow ponds filled. The developer has promised the eight acre ponds will be filled and be a cosmetic enhancement to the subdivision. It has also been disclosed the raw sewage inflow pump station may be deep into the fresh water table and the sewer plant site will likely need to be dewatered (lower the water table).
Before making this critical decision, the Weddington town council needs to understand with some degree of certainty these basic issues. How much well water will be needed to irrigate the entire gated subdivision, run the entire private sewer system and keep filled the eight acres of sewer effluent holding ponds? How much well water will be destroyed by dewatering and lowering the water table to accommodate the sewer plant and pump station? And, what are the short and long term environmental effects of this development plan to the surrounding areaâ€™s potable well water?
The overall point is, annually, there will be millions of gallons of potable well water ruined for one developmentâ€™s cosmetic landscaping, private sewer plant operations, sewer effluent treated water holding ponds and private sewer plant site dewatering.
The discussion of well water use by the developer has been selective and exclusive. But we do know the stateâ€™s sewer permit application allows fresh water to be used to operate the private sewer plant and maintain the eight acres of treated water holding ponds. The state allows dewatering. There is no source available for such tremendous amounts of water other than the natural resource, potable well water.
There is one positive aspect this plan offers in regard to not having to use well water. The eight acres of overflow ponds are by state permit, allowed to be completely empty or dry. While leaving dry, eight acres of unfenced, treated water residue, muck, mud, trash and dead fish may be a stinking eyesore, the practice, would prevent millions of gallons of good well water from being destroyed by being mixed with sewer effluent just to be evaporated.
The subdivision will be supplied their potable residential use and drinking water from Union County, a municipal source. If this conditional use permit is approved, there are no restrictions and no monitoring of the townâ€™s potable well water supply. Many of us living in Weddington depend on our wells.
Protecting our wells
No one developer should be allowed to abuse the townâ€™s potable well water for their own profit. This private sewer plant, treated water holding ponds, irrigation and dewatering plans are doomed to be an environmental disaster when compared to the certain abuse of the natural resource, potable well water. Other than some non drinkable irrigation water, a sewer system byproduct, there is nothing â€œgreenâ€ about this pump and haul sewer plan.
The town council can not make an informed decision about this conditional use permit without an extensive, independent study of this developmentâ€™s impact on our common natural resource, potable well water. While North Carolina and Union County can not and will not protect our potable well water, the town council can. The Town of Weddington Land Use Plan mandates the protection of our natural resource, well water.
The Weddington Town Council is the last group of elected officials, our neighbors, who have the responsibility and opportunity to protect the health, welfare and property values of the community. All of us here in Weddington, especially those of us depending on well water, are expecting these elected leaders to keep our potable well water supply safe and available.
How can the Town Council of Weddington issue a conditional use permit that does not specifically define, nor has extensively studied, potable well water usage which directly relates to our health, our safety and our property values?
If you are concerned about how your well water will be affected join us at www.friendsofweddington.org and also contact the Town Council of Weddington, your Legislators and the Union County Commissioners.