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Building permits being issued again

There is good news tonight for area builders. New Hanover county once again issuing building permits. The building moratorium is now over. But just how much did it cost our local economy? Construction in New Hanover County all but came to a stand-still when the state imposed a building moratorium at the beginning of the month. "There are an awful lot of folks who have invested money, both commercially and residentially, in their projects, and who are sitting on borrowed money," says Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association representative Donna Girardo. "If you shut down the entire system, it puts a lot of people out of work," says Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. Mayor Saffo acknowledges the city's economy took a temporary hit in the form of unemployment. "People had to look for other jobs because they couldn't get the building permit to begin the contruction aspect of it. So, from that perspective, we lost some employees to other regions," says Saffo. The good news is that the moratorium lasted only about two weeks. It was lifted after city and county officials sent a report to the state division of water quality. The report detailed specific actions being taken to reduce the flow of wastewater through the NEI. Still, uncertainty remains. The wastewater flowing away from the NEI is going to the northside treatment plant. But that will be capped at 120,000 gallons. After that, no more permits will be issued until sewer repairs are complete. "For the first time, we have a restriction on the number of building permits in the northern part of the county. And we've never had that before, says Girardot. The repairs to the sewer system are expected to take until April of next year. The goal until then is to divert a total of 600,000 gallons of wastewater away from the Northeast Interceptor.

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