Citing ‘commitment to clean water efforts,’ Belville accepts proposed settlement in H2GO lawsuit

Citing ‘commitment to clean water efforts,’ Belville accepts proposed settlement in H2GO lawsuit
The Town of Belville released a statement Wednesday expressing concern about recent reports of high levels of contamination that were found in the water source throughout Brunswick County and especially Belville Elementary School.

BELVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - The Town of Belville released a statement Wednesday expressing concern about recent reports of high levels of contamination that were found in the water source throughout Brunswick County and especially Belville Elementary School.

A recent study released by an organization called Environmental Working Group revealed Brunswick County has the highest level of PFAS contamination in its tap water among the 44 sites tested in 31 states across the country.

The Brunswick County sample was taken from Belville Elementary School by the group Clean Cape Fear. The samples for the study were taken between May and December of 2019 and analyzed by an independent lab.

In response to the study’s findings, H2GO, the Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer Authority, sent a proposal to the Town of Leland and the Town of Belville to end an ongoing lawsuit about H2GO water and sewer assets.

“We are in full agreement with the concepts in H2GO’s settlement proposal and look forward to working with them and the Town of Leland,” Mayor Mike Allen said. "We stand ready to assist, so that H2GO can construct the RO plant and can get clean water flowing to our residents as quickly as possible.”

The proposed settlement involves the following key points:

  • The Town of Belville will transfer back to H2GO all the assets transferred by H2GO to the Town of Belville in 2017;
  • H2GO will agree to pay the Town of Leland $800,000 toward the costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the Town of Leland in filing and pursuing the litigation;
  • The Towns of Leland and Belville and H2GO will have the appeals that have been filed with the Court of Appeals withdrawn by counsel within ten days of the execution of a written settlement agreement;
  • The Towns of Leland and Belville and H2GO will jointly move the Court in the pending litigation to modify the preliminary injunction that was entered on December 28, 2017 to remove and delete decretal paragraph 8, which prohibits H2GO and the Town of Belville from constructing or making arrangements to construct the RO Plant permitted by NPDES Permit NC0089613;
  • The Town of Leland will withdraw, with prejudice, the claim in the pending litigation asserting that H2GO violated the North Carolina Open Meetings Law as well as the request that the Town of Leland has made for costs and attorney's fees;
  • The Town of Leland will agree to facilitate and not to oppose, obstruct or impair, the construction and operation by H2GO of the RO Plant permitted by NPDES Permit NC 0089613.

A spokesperson for the town of Leland said they’re considering the proposal at this time. The town has until Feb. 21 to decide whether it wants to accept or decline the settlement.

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