Last October, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality placed stricter controls on what outside materials MSD could accept, thus barring the plant from taking Asheville’s treatment residuals. The city’s current plan is to landfill the sludge in Buncombe County and Concord, N.C. — at over 2 1/2 times the cost of its previous disposal arrangement.
Beyond the city’s loan of more than $48,000 for each of the 11 affordable units in West Asheville, which will be deferred for 30 years and accrue no interest, Homeward Bound is also seeking roughly $280,000 in commercial loans and has received $89,153 in federal HOME funding administered by the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium.
On the social media site Nextdoor, multiple residents say they haven’t received utility bills before getting the associated delinquent notice. The city, which has collected over $820,000 in late fees every fiscal year since at least 2015-16, says there are no plans to change billing systems or research improvements to the current approach.
Taken together, the adjustments on the docket would generate nearly $1 million in new annual revenue for water operations and capital improvements. In a staff report issued before the meeting, city CFO Barbara Whitehorn estimated the total annual impact of the changes as $6.60 per household.
“They are supposed to notify the customers to boil the water and then take a sample to make sure there is no bacteria present in the water and then they lift the boil water advisory,” Kimberly Barnett, the regional manager for Asheville at the state Department of Environmental Quality, told Carolina Public Press. The city of Asheville didn’t follow that process after widespread water outages on April 1.
Over the next few days, said Water Resources Director David Melton, customers may need to flush their water lines and hot water heaters to clear residual sediment. He said that city staff would work to make billing adjustments for customers who used additional water for this purpose.
“In scope, it compares with the ill-advised, Democratically led, but bipartisan-supported effort [circa 2005] to steal Asheville’s water system.”
“Many years ago,” says Mayor Manheimer, “our city leadership made the bold and wise investment in a watershed and water infrastructure that provided the foundation for the robust water system we have today … This ruling ensures that Asheville can continue to own this great water system and continue to provide safe drinking water for years into the future.”
At City Council’s annual retreat on Fri., Jan. 29, at noon Mayor Esther Manheimer announced that the N.C. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the city’s case opposing a state-mandated transfer of the Asheville water system’s ownership to the regional Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County.
“Regarding Asheville’s decision to fluoridate our city water, I would like to suggest to Mayor [Esther] Manheimer she act on the side of caution immediately.”
” I believe there is a chemical in sufficiently high quantities in the water that is causing me to become ill.”
“I can see how your reader interpreted the 2014 Water Quality report to suggest that Schnabel Engineering is doing a $25 million study. We have engaged Schnabel over the past several years to assess our primary water supply dam and identify improvements that are necessary to bring the dam into compliance with N.C. Dam Safety regulations.”
Passing a new budget resolution and agreeing to hire additional legal counsel were the two top items at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. The $40-million budget reflects a $16.7 million capital improvement investment and a 2.5 percent rate increase for domestic users.
The most-viewed news at mountainx.com this past week: A roundup of Asheville City Council’s Dec. 11 actions, which included approving pub cycles and reviewing the city’s study of the possible merger of the water system with the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
Release of a draft economic-impact study of the potential merger of the Asheville water system with the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County is expected next week.
Due to the far-reaching effects of Hurricane Sandy, the planned November 1 discussion of the draft water study contracted for by the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County has been delayed.
While there was no formal action taken, the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District has reviewed what were called “underlying assumptions” used by staff in studying the proposed merger of the Asheville water system with MSD’s operation. The option of leasing the approximately 20,000 acres of protected watershed, leaving ownership in the hands of the city, was one item on that list of eight.