H2GO Proposes End to Two-Year Lawsuit

In November of 2017, with the future of Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO’s proposed Aquifer-Sourced Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant in limbo, H2GO commissioners voted to transfer their assets to the Town of Belville, whose elected officials accepted the proposal the next day. Later that week, the Town of Leland filed suit against H2GO and the Town of Belville.

On the afternoon of January 24th, correspondence in the form of a settlement proposal was sent to the Towns of Leland and Belville that would end the two-year legal battle.

“With Brunswick County and Belville Elementary School topping the list of PFAS contamination levels according to the January 21st Environmental Working Group study, H2GO  felt it was imperative to find a solution to the current two-year litigation so we can get clean water to the most vulnerable population of our community, our children,” said Ron Jenkins, H2GO Chairman.

The settlement proposal has several key points for the solution and remedy of the on-going lawsuit:
  1. The Town of Belville will transfer back to H2GO all the assets transferred by H2GO to the Town of Belville in 2017;
  2. H2GO will agree to pay the Town of Leland $800,000.00 toward the costs and attorney's fees incurred by the Town of Leland in filing and pursuing the litigation;
  3. The Towns of Leland and Belville and H2GO will have the appeals that have been filed with the Court of Appeals withdrawn by counsel within ten (10) days of the execution of a written settlement agreement;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. 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.
The settlement proposal is derived from the Court’s decision and, therefore, no annexation terms are addressed.  

“We believe that the provisions laid out in the settlement proposal are fair to all parties. Our goal is to come together as a region to provide our community with water that is safe, clean, and free of industrial contaminants by the aquifer-sourced RO Plant,” said Jenkins. H2GO elected officials have signed and agreed to the terms proposed. The settlement proposal was delivered to the Towns of Leland and Belville, who will have until February 21st to accept or decline the settlement proposal.

With the recent findings presented by the Environmental Working Group, it is more crucial than ever to re-start construction of H2GO’s aquifer-sourced RO Plant.  It is up to H2GO and the Towns of Leland and Belville to protect and preserve the health and welfare of our communities.

It is the hope of H2GO that the Towns of Leland and Belville will join them to provide our community with what they deserve: water that is safe, clean, and free of industrial contaminants.