Blue Thumb, September 2011


Interruptions of drinking water service can cause hardships for residents, businesses, public agencies, etc. and wastewater spills from sewers can harm the natural environment including creeks and streams.

That’s why in the current fiscal year, we expect to invest about $10 million to sustain the integrity of the community’s public water and wastewater systems.

As our utility systems age, we believe it is essential to renew, replace and improve facilities where necessary so that we can cost-effectively provide quality services with high reliability.

Our capital budget for July, 2011 through June, 2012 is part of an overall 15-year plan for infrastructure projects.

Our current capital program includes:

  • Repairing the gates in the dam at the Cane Creek Reservoir.
  • Replacing water lines in portions of Weaver Dairy Road, Fordham Boulevard, Booker Creek Road and other locations.
  • Completing the Bolin Creek sewer project in and near Umstead Drive from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Estes Drive Extension.
  • Enhancing our biological treatment process, replacing old equipment and other work at our Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant in southeast Chapel Hill.

Based on analysis of pipe conditions, capacities, the location of essential public facilities and other factors, we plan to replace an average of 3 miles of water lines each year. Overall, our water system has 420 miles of pipes.

Based on a similar analysis, we plan to replace or renew an average of 2 miles of sewers annually. We maintain 336 miles of sewers.

As noted in past reports to customers, our bills reflect our commitment to careful stewardship of the community’s utility assets. About half of our monthly bill is for infrastructure costs including

  • $10 million of cash funded projects in our current budget, and
  • $8.8 million of payments on long-term bonds issued to help pay for past projects.

The other half of our bill is for the costs of service operations, equipment purchases and financial reserves.

OWASA Factoid

As a community-owned utility, OWASA is the steward of about $290 million of the community’s assets.

These assets include our drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs, 756 miles of water and sewer pipes and the reclaimed water system. OWASA’s assets have been acquired or built, and renovated, maintained, operated and improved with service fees and charges paid by our customers.

Dana Stidham, Will Raymond and Terri Buckner

join the OWASA Board of Directors

Dana Stidham, Will Raymond and Terri Buckner recently took the oaths of office as new members of the OWASA Board.


Dana Stidham

Ms. Stidham was appointed by the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, Mr. Raymond is an appointee of the Chapel Hill Town Council, and the Orange County Board of Commissioners appointed Ms. Buckner.Ms. Stidham’s professional career has included serving as a Planner with the Town of Chapel Hill; Herndon, VA; and Round Rock, TX; and an internship with the Lower Colorado River Authority.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College and a Master of Science in Architecture, Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin.

A Carrboro resident for six years, Ms. Stidham has served on the Town’s Environmental and Transportation advisory boards.


Will Raymond

A Chapel Hill resident since 1988, Will Raymond is a consulting software developer who focuses on enterprise application integration and business process management technologies. Previously, he was the chief technology/ information officer in the local companies and Blast, Inc.

He received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from East Carolina University.

Mr. Raymond has served on the Chapel Hill Technology Board, Horace Williams Citizens Committee on Carolina North, the Downtown Parking Task Force, Sustainability Visioning Task Force, Festifall Planning Committee, Project Connect Planning Committee, Friends of the Lincoln Arts Center and Friends of Bolin Creek.

Terri Buckner, a local resident since 1977, is a Business Analyst with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has over 20 years of experience as an educator, including two and a half years with the UNC Sustainability Office. In the information technology field, she has specialized in systems analysis and business function alignment.

Ms. Buckner has served on the Carrboro Transportation and Environmental advisory boards, Smith Level Road Task Force, Chapel Hill Technology Advisory Committee and Solid Waste Reduction Task Force, and the Chancellor’s Commuting Cost Task Force.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at UNC and a Master of Science in Instructional Systems at Florida State University.



County and Town elected boards reaffirm support of

the Taste of Hope Customer Assistance Program 

Earlier this year, the Orange County Commissioners, Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Chapel Hill Town Council adopted resolutions reaffirming their support of the Taste of Hope customer assistance program.

The Boards noted that OWASA is legally unable to use its revenues to financially assist customers in need, and the Taste of Hope program is therefore funded only with donations.


To get more information or sign up as a donor, please contact us at 537-4343 or, or visit  

Monthly rates will increase 2% on October 1st

Our monthly water and sewer rates will increase 2% on October 1, mainly due to higher costs for system maintenance.

For a residential customer using 5,000 gallons per month, our monthly bill will increase $1.66, from $81.87 to $83.53. Our bills are pro-rated when new rates go into effect. For example, in a bill for service from September 15 to October 15, half of the service would be charged at old rates and half at new rates. For an estimate of bills at new rates based on past water use at a residence or business, please contact Public Affairs at 919-537-4267 or send an e-mail to