H2GO reaches agreement with Belville over clean water dispute

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BELVILLE, NC (WWAY) — H2GO customers in Brunswick County are one step closer to having clean water. The utility has reached an agreement with the Town of Belville, ending years of litigation that prevented a reverse osmosis plant from being built.

The agreement, approved by Belville Commissioners and the H2GO Board Monday night, includes three major components. Both the town and the utility will withdrawal their appeals in an ongoing lawsuit, the town will return all assets to H2GO that they received in 2017, and H2GO will continue construction of the reverse osmosis plant.

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“It’s been two years. Two years too long,” says Belville Mayor Mike Allen. “The whole process for us has been to give clean water to the people here in my town of Belville.”

The town of Belville and H2GO say they are doing what they believe is best for the citizens of northern Brunswick County.

“We both agree to go back and drop the appeal, and what that’ll allow to happen means we will go with the court’s settlement on what they want us to do, that’s turning all the assets back over to H2GO,” Allen says.

Mayor Allen says recent developments about water quality in the county created more urgency to find a solution.

“I just hope the people in our town as well as the sanitary district will support H2GO in what they’re doing, support them in building the reverse osmosis and getting the water out of the aquifers and out to the people where it should be,” Allen said.

The agreement also allows the utility to continue building a water purification system in Belville, serving the sanitary district.

“H2GO will resume construction of the aquifer-sourced RO water plant so that it may provide clean and safe water to its customers,” says H2GO’s counsel Stephen Coble.

The agreement must still be officially accepted in court. Allen could not give a time frame on how long that could take.

“I look forward to moving forward and get through the court process and follow the court’s guidance, and return the assets to H2GO,” Allen says.

The Town of Leland, which is also involved in a lawsuit with H2GO, refused to accept a settlement from the utility on Friday.

H2GO board members did not wish to comment after Monday night’s meeting.