H2GO

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H2GO’s Board of Commissioners, a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County, is likely to change direction on construction of a controversial reverse osmosis plant. 

For the last two years, the two board members who oppose building an RO plant sat in the minority on H2GO’s five-member board.  But with three open seats this year, all it took to change the majority position was for one of three anti-RO candidates to win.  RO-supporter and incumbent Carl Antos lost his seat to RO opponent Bill Beer by 18 votes. 

Dr. Detlef Knappe, the N.C. State scientist who uncovered GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear River, is not happy about being pulled into tomorrow’s election for the H2GO board. He explains why he’s upset about three candidates using his name in a political ad. 

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial and has its opponents. Three of the candidates oppose the plant.

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial with opponents concerned the project is not necessary and would saddle consumers with higher utility rates. Three candidates are in support of the plant.

On this edition of CoastLine, we meet two of three candidates seeking one of two open seats on Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 1.  This small seaside city in Brunswick County is divided into two wards – each represented by three people to make up a six-member board.  The Mayor of the City of Southport serves a two-year term.  Aldermen serve four-year terms which are staggered.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet one candidate for Leland’s Town Council and one for Board of Commissioners of Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO. 

But first, we take a closer look at municipal elections with a political scientist.   

Segment 1:  Aaron King, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old this month.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area – despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we spend the first segment with one candidate for the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen.  The remaining two segments feature candidates running for Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO – who have opposing views on whether to build a reverse osmosis plant. 

Segment 1:  Pat Prince for Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries.  H2GO serves over 10,000 water customers and nearly 6,000 sewer customers.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An American Rivers Report recently identified the Cape Fear and Neuse Rivers as in the top ten Most Endangered in the United States.  A 2016 study of the presence of hexavalent chromium in drinking water by the Environmental Working Group found levels higher than it considers safe in the tap water of more than 200 million Americans.  This is the same toxin that first landed on the national radar in the early 1990s when Erin Brockovich

Leland residents get their water through H2GO, an independent governmental entity separate from Brunswick County’s Public Utility – which sells water to H2GO.  And now H2GO is deciding whether to build its own reverse osmosis plant. 

While water authority officials study the question, a citizen-led group, Stop H2GO, has sprung up in opposition to that project -- creating a StopH2GO website and putting forth two candidates for H2GO's Board of Commissioners.