Leland Town Council votes on H2GO proposal

Published: Jun. 16, 2017 at 3:27 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2017 at 7:49 AM EDT
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LELAND, NC (WECT) - Leland Town Council members passed a resolution Thursday requesting that H2GO delay construction of a planned reverse osmosis plant.

Last week, experts said that reverse osmosis may be one of the only ways to filter GenX out of drinking water, but that has not created more widespread support for the bill in Leland.

The council wants H2GO to wait until November when the commissioners on H2GO's board who are in favor of the plant will be up for reelection.

Council members said they're listening to their community, and what they're hearing is that the community does not want the plant to be built.

H2GO Commissioner Jeff Gerkin, who has always opposed the plant, says the news of GenX in the water has not caused him to reconsider the plant. He says the concentration of GenX in the water is too small to cause concern.

"We're talking about 10 drops in an Olympic-sized swimming pool," he said. "I haven't done those calculations myself, but it's an extremely small amount. It means that out of a trillion drops of water, 631 would be of this chemical."

The meeting was filled with both supporters and opponents of the plant's construction, but most in attendance seemed to be more focused on the safety of their water than on the plant itself.

Sandra Ford recently moved to Leland from Texas. She said she's more concerned about her water quality than the politics surrounding the issue.

"Clean water and clean air are not a partisan thing," Ford said. "It's not a Democratic or Republican thing. We shouldn't have to worry about the water that we are drinking. It should be a basic human right."

H2GO is a water utility authority located in Leland that serves about 10,000 customers and was recently awarded $3.35 million for the reverse osmosis plant.

It's expected to cost around $30 million before it's finished, which is one reason so many don't want the plant to be built.

Thursday's vote does not mean that H2GO has to wait until the November elections to delay the plant. It is simply a request from the town of Leland.

Earlier this month, Brunswick County Commissioners made that same request.

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