Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is mandating residents in the Heritage Park community to pay thousands of dollars for a new water and sewer connection.
Some residents in the Heritage Park area have had a problem with their septic tanks and wells but many are furious they're being required to get the new connection.
"It feels like crap. It feels like they're trying to take over what we own, what we've worked all of our lives for," said Heritage Park resident Pearlene Slade.
Slade said she does not have any issues with her septic tank and is upset she is being forced to pay for the new systems.
CFPUA officials estimate that each resident will have to pay an average of $10,000-$12,000 to set up plumbing, connect water lines, sewage and new customer fees. The project is a mandatory connection to ensure funding for infrastructure maintenance and construction.
Slade lives on Carl Seitter Drive and owns a house and another plot of land on that road, which means she is looking at a bill of more than $20,000 for the connection requirement.
"I'm barely making ends meet as it is," Slade commented. "I don't think its right I have to pay to run their lines. Their lines that they get the money from down the street that's none of my business, that's their business."
Slade cannot work and is on a fixed income. She said she doesn't know what she is going to do and may have to move out because she does not have the money.
CFPUA officials said the project is necessary even for residents who don't experience septic problems because the Heritage Park area has had septic tank issues for years. According to CFPUA officials, more than 67 septic tanks have failed since 2000 with expensive repairs to environmental impacts to surface water.
The septic to sewer project costs $5,725,729. New Hanover County and CFPUA have received a loan to install sewer into the area and permanently remove septic tanks. The loan will help reduce residents' costs, but some residents are still upset that they are being forced to go with this option.
"That's fine if they want to run their lines, but don't make us pay for it," explained Heritage Park area resident Laura Harris.
CFPUA spokesman says Mike McGill said this mandatory connection is all in fairness, and if only a few residents took part in the project, it would cost even more money.
"It spread out the costs of a project across all of us, when it comes to the water and sewer that they use, as well as connection the system," McGill noted.
The project is expected to be constructed over the next two years. More public meetings will be held before residents are required to pay for the water and sewer project.
Those affected by this project include residents along Carl Seitter Drive, Emily Street, Diane Street, Olive Street, Fulbright Street, Pilgrim Circle, Heritage Park Drive, Jamaica Drive, Bermuda Drive, Nassau Road, and Fairfield Drive. Residents along portions of Castle Hayne Road between Spring Road and Heritage Park Drive may also be affected, along with residents near the corner of Spring Road and Fairfield Drive.
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