Woods' numbers don't add up …
Where are the facts about well water?
The Woods developer in Weddington has touted the potable water savings of his project and has reported that his sewer system can reclaim 18 million gallons of water annually. The Woods developer claims this to be an environmentally friendly, zero-maintenance development with irrigation over the 282 acres in the development. In his public hearing comments, he also claims the Woods subdivision's yards and landscaping will be lush and green when everyone else's is suffering through drought and water restrictions.
Let's do a little basic math.
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It takes approximately 27,225 gallons of water to irrigate one acre of land one time with one inch of water. Multiply that by 282 acres and you get 7,677,450 gallons for a single one-inch application, and for 52 weekly applications, 399,227,400 gallons. The maximum stated capacity of the sewer plant on an annual basis is 36,500,000 gallons. That's a disparity of 362,727,400 gallons coming from our mutually shared natural resource, well water.
As reported in the public hearing, the plant's actual daily usage may be as low as 40,000 gallons per day. The sewer plant, at maximum capacity, will produce less the 10 percent of the subdivision's maximum water usage.
Another problem becomes apparent when you calculate the subdivision's promise to keep the eight acres of overflow ponds at less than 50 percent capacity as required by the state sewer permit. The Woods developer promises these ponds will be an attractive enhancement to the subdivision.
To keep eight acres of overflow ponds at a two-foot depth will require 5,227,200 gallons of treated water. These ponds could easily lose all of the daily sewer output of treated water from evaporation. That leaves this zero-maintenance community with no option but well water to irrigate 282 acres.
There will certainly be some volume and usage adjustments for weather and drought. The pond surface may be less than eight acres. The irrigated acreage may be reduced because of hard surfaces, but the overall point is there will be millions of gallons of well water used for cosmetic landscaping, sewer-plant operation and pond-level maintenance.
The fact is, this developer's numbers just don't add up. His discussion of this topic is selective and exclusive.
The state's sewer permit application allows the developer unlimited fresh water to be used to operate the sewer plant and keep the eight acres of sewer-affluent retention ponds filled.
If this conditional use permit is approved, there are no restrictions on the certain abuse of our mutually beneficial well-water supply. In regard to the abuse of a precious, limited natural resource, well water, the facts show this development is doomed be a miserable environmental failure.
North Carolina and Union County have no laws to protect our valuable, necessary natural resource, well water. Over a thousand of us at friendsofweddington.org have organized to fight this conditional use permit. But it's you elected members of the Weddington Town Council who are the last five people that have the responsibility and opportunity to protect the health, welfare and property values of our community. All of us here in Weddington, Union County, and especially those of us on well water are depending on you to keep our well-water supply safe and available.
… More numbers don't add up
In the past few months I joined a grass roots campaign, Friends of Weddington.org, and by doing so I have become quite involved in supporting opposition to the waste-water treatment plant that is proposed to be installed at the Woods development off Weddington Road. This is a role that I was very unfamiliar with, and like many of you I usually just sat on the sidelines hoping someone else would fight my campaign for me. But this time I joined this campaign, not because I had to, but I felt obligated to.
Personally, I feel it poses a health hazard to our community – which could have a long-lasting impact on our way of life and my family.
Prior to getting involved in this campaign, my involvement with government issues was minimal, like many others in our community and probably in the United States. I just voted during elections, and served on jury duty when requested.
I have found the experience to be quite demanding, challenging and educational, but most of all a necessity. This waste-water treatment plant, if approved by the town council on Aug. 18, will set a precedent, whereby all future builders could install a similar unit in every future development in Union County. There is still a lot of undeveloped land in all of our neighborhoods, and one of these units may be right across the street from you next. If we allow this to happen, then the next builder without as much capital as Infinity Partners may install a cheaper and even less reliable waste-water treatment unit in the next development.
I believe in green efforts to save the environment. But using waste water from homes even when treated to water your lawn and bushes goes beyond common sense. Philip Walton with Infinity Partners said, “At the prices that land was going for in Union County and at the prices that you can sell finished lots, you simply cannot even make the cost of the land work out.”
I read where the land where the Woods is to be developed was purchased for $23 million dollars. If they build out the entire 200 homes at even $1.5 million per home (but they say a home could sell for as much as $3 million per home), they will generate $300 million before operating costs. If they make even a 10 percent return (not unreasonable in this industry), they would make at least $30 million profit and, at the $3 million level, $60 million.
The numbers do work out in their favor. This is simply an economic issue for Infinity Partners, whose only desire is to make as much profit as possible. They will build this development and then walk away from it, leaving the town with a future liability when the system fails – and all mechanical devices do fail at some point.
I am asking your support to join us by doing the following:
Attend the public hearing for the Woods proposed sewer-treatment plant on Monday, 7 p.m. at Weddington High School.
Go to our Web site, www.friends of wed ding ton.org, and sign the petition.
Make a small donation while at our Web site to our legal defense fund.