Meeting Community Needs
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Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach as a Category 1 storm on Friday morning, September 14. Cary staff had monitored the hurricane approach for several days and activated the Town’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate response operations and recovery efforts. In addition, the Town staffed a call center around the clock and temporarily relocated it to the Public Works Operations Center.
Fortunately, Cary only endured wind gusts up to 48 mph and sustained winds of 33 mph. Rainfall amounts totaled 5.3 inches for the storm’s four-day duration. As a result, Cary was not severely impacted. Most response activities centered around trees and limbs that fell on overhead utility lines, keeping police, public
works and fire crews occupied. The stormwater system functioned well given the rainfall amounts; no significant flooding was reported.
After EOC staff determined we could release extra-duty resources, the State’s EOC requested firefighting, police and swift water rescue crews for assignments in New Bern and Harnett County.
Three police officers worked 12-hour patrol shifts in New Bern for four days. The Fire Department sent Engine 9 with a four-person firefighting crew to New Bern for seven days. These officers and firefighters replaced New Bern staff, so the New Bern staff could focus on their personal recovery efforts. Engine 9 responded to 55 incidents during the assignment. The 12-person swift water rescue crew was sent to Dunn and Lillington in Harnett County for five days, responding to 20 missions and rescuing 12 people and nine animals in Harnett, Lee and Cumberland counties.
Based on current damage assessments, it is unlikely Wake County will qualify for a Presidential Disaster Declaration and any related federal disaster assistance.
The Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Service Improvement Study Analysis for the Cary, Apex and Morrisville 911 consolidation continues to move forward. We are on schedule to implement these changes by the March 2019 deadline. Throughout this quarter, the three towns held twice monthly meetings to discuss the process of a merger to a multi-agency PSAP operated from the Town of Cary’s PSAP. Each of the towns seems eager to move forward with the merger. The discussions have been focused on the network connectivity of the towns, solidifying costs associated with the purchase of necessary technology equipment, and call routing for unincorporated areas within the service areas of Apex and Morrisville. None of these items appear to be a roadblock in moving this project forward. There is a subgroup of staff members from each town that is working on a draft Interlocal Agreement (ILA) to present at an upcoming Council work session.
The consultant’s report indicated that five additional 911 Communicators were needed to provide the exemplary service that is expected by the communities of Apex and Morrisville. As mentioned in previous updates, it was decided that Cary would hire the additional staff members prior to the approval of the ILA. Three additional staff members have been identified and are in various stages of the hiring process or required field training phase of employment. There is an ongoing hiring process for two additional staff members.
The Town has been a member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) since 2017. As part of our membership, Cary’s wastewater treatment facilities are eligible for NACWA’s awards program that recognizes excellent performance. The Town’s North Cary Water Reclamation Facility and South Cary Water Reclamation Facility were recognized with Platinum Awards, which are based on five years of excellent performance with no violations. Staff from NCWRF and SCWRF submitted five years of operating data and regulatory compliance records to qualify for the award.
Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility, which hasn’t yet been in operation for five years, also qualified for a Gold Award. The awards were presented at the NACWA national conference in July.
Each year, the Town provides citizens and customers an annual review of activities and compliance with our wastewater treatment facilities and wastewater collection system.
The Annual Wastewater Report of system performance from 2017 through 2018 was published in August. Printed copies are available at Cary community centers and public libraries in Cary and Morrisville.
We are happy to report that the water reclamation facilities performed exceptionally well at consistently treating wastewater to high water quality and permit standards and there were no regulatory compliance violations during the reporting period. The collection system also performed exceptionally well by having one of its best years on record with a low number and volume of sewer overflows.
New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding underground storage tanks (UST) require additional inspections and testing of overfill prevention equipment, spill prevention equipment and release detection equipment. Additionally, USTs and associated piping used for emergency power generation installed before November 1, 2007 must now undergo release detection testing. All tanks, lines, and spill prevention devices need to be tested by mid-October 2018.
Upon notification of the new regulations, Public Works immediately had a fuel supplier conduct preliminary investigations and testing. The supplier estimated that a project to bring the Town into compliance with the new EPA regulations would cost approximately $200,000. Staff began working with an environmental consultant to conduct further testing and determine with more precision what will be required to bring the Town’s USTs into compliance.