LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – They waged a legal battle for years over a proposed reverse osmosis plant, but now the Town of Leland and H2GO are weeks away from consolidating their water and wastewater operations.
Officials said months ago they hoped the consolidation would be finalized by the end of June. It’s looking like things are headed that way.
Leland Town Council is going to look at annexing several of H2GO’s properties into town limits. While most of the water and sewer operations will be combined, there is one element that will remain separate.
H2GO owns a water tower in Brunswick Forest and Leland operates a radio communications facility on top of the tower. Emergency management director John Grimes says the contract clarifies the town is responsible for the upkeep and insurance for the radio while H2GO will only be responsible for the water tower operations.
“We were able to identify a grant with Duke Energy and now we have our own radio system that’s available to all departments at the town,” said Grimes.
The radio won’t affect H2GO’s operations, but it does make sure that Leland’s departments can stay in touch in case of an emergency.
“During Hurricane Florence, one of the things we identified in our after-actions report was the need of a communications system for our utility department, our streets department and for our administrative aspects of the department,” said Grimes. “A lot of our communications day-to-day was on text messages and during the storm, everybody was getting on there trying to keep in touch with their loved ones.”
Leland’s police and fire departments already have their own separate system with Brunswick County. Fire chief Chris Langlois says it’s good to have a backup plan in case that system stops working.
“[It’s] our plan B in case we were to lose contact with Brunswick County 911,” said Chief Langlois. “This would allow us to continue to dispatch our units to emergencies and also continue to communicate with each other.”
The radio has been there for a year but as the town enters an interlocal agreement with H2GO, some things had to be clarified. While H2GO is responsible for maintaining the water tower itself, the Town is responsible for the upkeep and insurance coverage of the radio on top of the tower.
Town Council has already looked over the agenda including the items related to the interlocal agreement. Those are all expected to pass on Thursday. Meanwhile, H2GO’s board will meet tonight about the same agreements.
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