A notice of violation has been issued to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County by the N.C. Division of Water Quality, pertaining to the April 30 spill of raw sewerage into the French Broad River. The overflow of almost 6 million gallons was the result of a pump accident during a construction operation at the plant, resulting in the shutdown of its main pumps.
Many people were shocked when a malfunctioning pump sent millions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into the French Broad River April 30. While the issue was repaired the same day, MSD Manager Tom Hartye tells Xpress it never should have happened in the first place, asserting contractor Gilbert Engineering failed to follow a contingency plan.
At a special meeting tonight, May 7, Asheville City Council members voted unanimously to sue the state of North Carolina over a bill forcibly transferring the city’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. City Attorney Bob Oast cited “legal, constitutional, and practical issues” with the mandate.
As a forcible transfer of Asheville’s water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District clears its last legislative hurdles in Raleigh, city staff say relinquishing the system by May 15, as the bill requires, is an administrative impossibility. So what happens to the city’s water system in two weeks? “That’s a good question,” Water Resources Director Steve Shoaf says.
A malfunctioning pump at the Metropolitan Sewerage District plant sent millions of gallons of raw sewage into the French Broad River starting this morning. MSD crews hope to have the “horrible situation” repaired by early afternoon, said MSD Director of Engineering Stan Boyd, and shortly before 3 p.m. the leak was fixed. (Screenshot courtesy of a video uploaded by the nonprofit, French Broad Riverkeeper. The full video can be found in this post.)
State representatives Chuck McGrady, Tim Moffitt, and Nathan Ramsey have filed a bill to take control of Asheville’s water system and transfer it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District.
With the battle over the fate of Asheville’s water system, the Metropolitan Sewerage District is increasingly in the news, with accompanying questions about who the agency is and what they do.
At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Metropolitan Sewerage District board voted to offer $57 million over 50 years for the city of Asheville’s water system. Several members expressed doubts about the fairness of the process, but stopped short of a motion formally noting their reservations.
Now that the city of Asheville and the Metropolitan Sewerage District have both released their reports on a possible merger of the water system, the MSD board will consider proposals for taking the city’s system under its control at its meeting this afternoon. Follow live Twitter coverage of the discussion.
The city of Asheville has released a report by the Raftellis consulting firm on a possible merger with the Metropolitan Sewerage District. The report claims that an “inter-local agreement” between the two would have the greatest benefit while avoiding the cost of a merger. MSD taking over the city system will, according to the report, cost the city around $3.75 million a year.
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.
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.
At its Aug. 14 meeting, Asheville City Council will vote on placing a binding referendum on the sale of the city’s water system on the ballot this November.
Follow live Twitter coverage of Asheville’s City Council’s worksession on the fate of the city’s water system, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The city of Asheville, the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County, and Henderson County officials have been negotiating and discussing the possibility of merging Asheville’s water system with MSD. Here are a few documents related to the topic. For more information, see “Reluctant Partners: Asheville, MSD Take Tentative Steps Toward Merger” in the Aug. 1, 2012 issue of Xpress.
Recently, I attended a public forum at Jubilee concerning the study and potential takeover of the Asheville city water system by a legislative “study committee” chaired by Rep. Tim Moffitt. A daunting majority of citizens attending were against the notion of the N.C. Legislature seizing this very valuable city water system and restructuring it as […]
A sacred topic attracted more than 200 people who crammed into the pews of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church on Monday night: the Asheville water system. Hosted by the Asheville-Buncombe League of Women Voters (and co-sponsored by Mountain Xpress and Urban News), the Feb. 13 forum served as an informational session to the public about the water system, its history and its possible future. These are the highlights.
Every day, the Municipal Sewerage District collects and treats — and discharges into the French Broad — an average of 18 million gallons of wastewater, relying on millions of microbes to do what they’ve been doing since the Earth was young: consume organic waste. And every year, the Clean Water Act requires the utility to provide an assessment of how well they’re doing. That report was submitted to DENR August 30; let’s take a look.
At its meeting at on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Sewerage District will hold a public hearing on its proposed fiscal year 2012 budget. Totaling around $43.3 million, the budget calls for a 3 percent increase in the domestic sewer rate, raising the average household’s monthly bill from $25.72 to $26.45. MSD has increased sewer rates every year going back to fiscal year 2007. Rate increases over the past five fiscal years have averaged 3.75 percent.
Republican state Rep. Tim Moffitt has filed legislation that would seize Asheville’s water system, turning control over to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. Asheville City Council member Bill Russell, who also sits on the MSD board, said Moffitt didn’t inform either body before proposing the legislation.
In a 6-5 vote on Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Metropolitan Sewerage District board tabled plans to implement a new cost-sharing policy for sewer-line extensions in new developments and annexed areas until next month. Despite getting the go-ahead from the MSD planning committee on Dec. 2 (in what was also a close vote), the board heeded a request from the Council of Independent Business Owners that the issue be tabled for a month.