Millions at stake in H2GO vote


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Election day is less than a week away and one of the hottest races is in Northern Brunswick County. The reason, H2GO’s Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant. The plant has been a controversial debate for years.

Since June, crews have been working on five well sites to prepare for the plant.

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“Right now we’ve allocated $8 million. Of that $8 million we’ve probably spent about $4 to $5 million,” H2GO Executive Director, Bob Walker said.

The multi-million dollar project has caused a political divide. Six candidates are running to fill three seats on the five-member H2GO board, three of whom are for the plant while three are against.

Those in favor of the project include Carl Antos, Ronnie Jenkins, and Rodney McCoy. Those against the project include William Beer, Brayton Willis, and Donald Yousey.

“I’ve been familiar with reverse osmosis plants for years. The fact that we’re pulling clean, uncontaminated water, from the aquifer and not have to worry about the GenX products to begin with is a real world of good,” McCoy said.

“We’re not against reverse osmosis as a technology per se. If it is deemed necessary to treat the water to get all the pollutants out, then it should be the county to implement this, not H2GO. The county has far more resources, and they’re able to spread the cost over a much larger population base,” Beer said.

The biggest issue for candidates against the plant is the cost of the entire project. However, those pushing for the project said it is worth every cent.

“This project will benefit the children of our community, because they’re the most vulnerable to the contaminates we have in the water supplies right now,” Walker said. “And so this is going to set us up for future generations to have clean safe water.”

If one of the candidates against the RO plant wins next week it would switch the majority on the H2Go board. If that happens, the work the utility has done so far on the plant would all be for nothing.

“I think it’d be almost criminally negligent,” McCoy said.

Beer, who is against the plant, said they could get some of the money back by selling equipment and real estate.

“They’ve been warned on many, many occasions over the last year that there could be a change in the board, and, based on the strong opposition from the people, that this plant might get shut down, might get cancelled,” Beer said.

If the RO plant does move forward, Walker said it will be up and running by the beginning of 2019.