OWASA Board Responds to Carrboro and Chapel Hill

When the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted on March 1 against a request by OWASA to amend the Water and Sewer Management, Planning and Boundary Agreement (WSMPBA) -- and the Chapel Hill Town Council followed suit on April 25 -- the local water and sewer utility found itself in need of a compromise or a new strategy.

Should OWASA pursue access to Jordan Lake water?

Despite serious misgivings among some local officials, OWASA is moving forward on discussions with the City of Durham, Chatham County, Orange County, and other neighboring jurisdictions to secure future access to Jordan Lake water.

There is a lot of pressure from Chatham County because they over-built beyond their capacity to provide water during the high growth heyday of the Bunky Morgan era.  OWASA is a valuable ally to these other jurisdictions because it owns a prime piece of land on the west shore of Jordan Lake that is ideal for a water intake.

Public hearing on OWASA rate changes

Press release:



 A public, non-profit agency providing water, sewer and reclaimed water services to the Carrboro-Chapel Hill community.


NEWS RELEASE    April 29, 2009


OWASA Board of Directors calls budget and rate hearings on May 28th;

9.75% increase proposed for monthly water and sewer charges


On Thursday, April 23rd, the OWASA Board of Directors scheduled public hearings for Thursday night, May 28th on the draft budget for July, 2009 through June, 2010 (FY 2010), the Capital Improvements Budget for FY 2010-2014,15-Year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and proposed rate increases.


The May 28th public hearings will be part of an OWASA business meeting at 7:00 PM in the Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The meeting will be televised live on local cable channel 18. All customers are invited to attend and speak at the public hearings and to provide comments for the OWASA Board by e-mail to webmaster@owasa.org, or by letter to 400 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510, at any time.  Additional notices of the public hearings, including a formal notice in a local newspaper, will be distributed in May.


The OWASA Board could take final action on the budget, CIP and proposed rate increases as soon as the Board’s June 11th meeting.


OWASA’s draft FY 2010 budget includes a 9.75% rate increase in monthly water and sewer rates. A 9.75% rate increase would increase a monthly bill by $6.68 (from $68.24 to $74.92) for a typical individually-metered residence using 5,000 gallons per month. (Please see additional examples below.) The normal effective date for changes in OWASA’s rates is October 1st following adoption of an annual budget in June.


OWASA’s draft FY 2010 budget includes expenditures of $18.7 million for operations, $6.8 million for capital improvements and $9.7 million for bond debt payments.  The operating budget includes:


Ø  $1.7 million in cost reductions including elimination of 10 positions and freezing of 8 vacant positions, deferral of a sewer maintenance program and postponement of water meter replacements;

Ø  reduced capital spending including a one-year delay in the next phase of odor elimination improvements at the Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant;

Ø  reducing recreation days at University Lake from Friday through Monday to one day per week (Saturday), and continuing the current Saturday-only schedule at Cane Creek Reservoir; and

Ø  substantial increases in the cost of chemicals used in water and wastewater treatment.


Without the increase in chemical costs, the draft operating budget for FY 2010 would be 6% less than the budget for FY 2009.


The draft budget also reflects continuing low water demand and reduced revenue from new development connections due to the slow economy. Projected water demand in FY 2010 is 16% less than in FY 2001, while the number of customer accounts has increased by 3,100 since then.


For more information:


Kevin M. Ray, Director of Finance and Customer Service, 537-4236 or kray@owasa.org



PHONE: (919) 968-4421;     FAX: (919) 968-4464




Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 3:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Alamance fights for right to pollute Lake Jordan

Neighbors Burlington, Graham and Mebane have hired a law firm to fight the "Jordan Lake Rules" that the NC Division of Water Quality presented to the Environmental Management Commission. At issue is the unacceptable levels of nitrogen and phosphorous put into the Haw River, and thus Lake Jordan from upstream waste water and storm water runoff. Not very neighborly of them to want to keep dumping excess nutrients downstream, but as with all things the fight is really over the money that it would cost to retrofit existing infrastructure.



County Commish Candidates '08

Here are some hastily scribbled notes from last night's forum to meet the new cast of county commissioner candidates hosted by the Dem Women of OC.

From the DWOC handouts :

OC is going to a 7 member CC Plan; D1 = 3 members, D2 = 2 members + 2 "At Large" members. District 1 is the 71,389 people in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District. District 2 is the 44,142 of us that make up the rest of the rest of the county. In 2008 4 commissioners will be elected. D1 gets 2 seats, D2 gets one seat and one "At-Large" seat. 3 Commishes are not up for re-election until 2010: Alice Gordon, Barry Jacobs and Mike Nelson.

From notes:

Valerie Foushee D1 - (D-CH) uncontested "safe seat" - spoke on community mental health needs and diversity in housing, said state offered current county commissioners only 2 choices in raising taxes: land transfer tax or sales tax, which she sees as more regressive

Mary M. Wolfe - At Large -- absent



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