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Sewage Treatment Plant Plan Continues to Raise a Stink

October 4, 2010

NEW HILL, N.C. - Plans are moving ahead for the construction of a $327 million sewage treatment facility in the town of New Hill in Wake County. Opponents aren't giving up the years-long fight against it, though, arguing that New Hill, a community with a large minority and poor population, is being taken advantage of by its more affluent neighbors. The towns of Cary, Apex and Morrisville, united for the project as Western Wake Partners, intend to start construction in early spring.

Christopher Brook, staff attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, explains that this fight extends beyond New Hill.

"There's a huge historical trend of communities of color and also poor communities being the sites and the hubs for undesirable portions of communities."

Opponents of the sewage treatment plant say its construction will have significant social and environmental effects, because of its location in the heart of New Hill's historic district. Western Wake Partners says they looked at more than 30 sites before selecting the location. A recently-released study by the Army Corp of Engineers found the New Hill site to have environmental impacts comparable to other sites on the list.

Brook points to other sites in the area that would be more acceptable to New Hill residents.

"The community's been very clear that they're fine with the sewage treatment plant being built in their general vicinity, but they would just prefer it be built at one of these alternative sites that's not in the middle of their community."

The sewage treatment plant would also provide sewer services to some residents and businesses in New Hill that are currently using wells and septic tanks.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC