BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — After receiving hundreds of signatures petitioning H2GO’s proposed reverse osmosis plant, Brunswick County Commissioners want to delay the project another six months.
The $30 million reverse osmosis plant proposed in the Belville Industrial Park has been in the works for H2GO for the last six years. H2GO Board Chairman Bill Browning said they spend $1.8 million a year purchasing water from the county. He said it is like renting a house. Browning said now they are ready to buy their own house.
“After we did our homework and studied and met with all the engineers and the financial analysis people, we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the very best thing that we can do for our customers,” H2GO Board Chairman Bill Browning said.
Browning said the facility would allow them to have stable rates that are at or lower than the current rates. Browning said they have faced endless challenges trying to get the project started.
“We had two board members that were elected in the last cycle and their total purpose was to come in and more or less stop any reverse osmosis plant,” Browning said.
Most recently, Brunswick County Commissioners voted unanimously to ask H2GO to hold off until after the election this year.
“I don’t see any harm in taking the foot off the gas for five months letting the voters have their say,” Commissioner Frank Williams said. “Ultimately, I think it should be up to them.”
Commissioner Frank Williams said it comes after a stack of hundreds of signatures petitioning the project showed up at his door.
“Prior to that, I had no intentions of weighing in on it this year, but when you have someone hand deliver a pretty substantial number of petitions signed by people, you have to pay attention to that,” Williams said.
Williams said the concerns are about the potential debt that will come from the project and its location in the industrial park behind Waterford and Magnolia Greens. Browning said the facility is going to be the least intrusive building that could go in that spot.
“It would be quiet,” Browning said. “It would also not be offensive with fumes, noise or any kind of pollution at all and the things that could go into that park are amazing. You could have scrap yards. You could have junk yards. You could have sheet metal stamping businesses.”
If H2GO has their own facility, Brunswick County would be losing their biggest customer. Williams said that has some pros and cons.
“They would probably not purchase as much water from the county, but that would also decrease the need for the county to build additional capacity, so it would reduce an additional expense,” Williams said.
For now, Browning said the project is moving forward despite the delay request. Browning said if everything continues to go as planned, the facility should be up and running by January 2019.