Henderson Co. residents oppose Saluda’s plan to buy Tuxedo water system

Published 1:47 pm Friday, September 4, 2009

Henderson County Board of Commissioners Chairman William Moyer said that the option to purchase the Tuxedo system was not offered to Henderson County. Moyer also told residents that Saluda would not be able to purchase the system without Henderson County&squo;s approval since it lies in Henderson County.

Moyer said that the Henderson County Board of Commissioners &dquo;is very concerned about water to the southern end of the county,&dquo; and if the deal doesn&squo;t go through for Saluda, Henderson County will certainly look into it.

Saluda has a purchase agreement with Aqua North Carolina, the current owners of the Tuxedo system, which consists of two wells serving approximately 100 Tuxedo customers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt told the task force that on May 17, Henderson County received a letter from Saluda Water/Sewer Commissioner John Morgan that outlined the need for Saluda to have a longer term, more sustainable source of water. Saluda currently purchases water from the City of Hendersonville as its primary source. The city is looking to purchase the Tuxedo system as its primary source and plans to continue to use Hendersonville as a secondary, back-up source.

Wyatt said it appears Saluda&squo;s long-term plans also include tapping into Lake Summit and possibly partnering with Henderson County for a water plant.

Moyer said that the Tuxedo system has wells and Saluda officials have indicated that the wells could have a lot of capacity.

A few Henderson County residents spoke Tuesday, all expressing their opposition to Henderson County allowing Saluda to purchase the Tuxedo water system. They also said Henderson County should not agree for Polk County to reclassify the Lake Adger watershed to a class III, which will affect Henderson County (see more details on Polk County&squo;s request in Friday&squo;s paper).

Henderson County resident&bsp; Charles Blackwell said Henderson County has already given water away on the northern end of the county and the water in Tuxedo has been serving people in Henderson County and should continue to do so.

&dquo;I suggest the county purchase those wells and expand on those wells to service the southern end of Henderson County,&dquo; Blackwell said.

Blackwell also mentioned past shortages of water in Henderson County and said when&squo;s there&squo;s another shortage it will be the people at Lake Summit and Tuxedo hurting, not the people in Saluda.

Zirconia resident Debra Stephens said she believes neither Saluda nor Polk County has established a need for the water they are trying to take. She cited data she&squo;s researched, including that Polk&squo;s population is decreasing and Henderson County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state.

Henderson County resident Bill Brooks said he feels like Henderson County is giving away all its options it has for future water sources.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners will set the date for a public hearing on Saluda&squo;s request at its meeting next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The City of Hendersonville will also be addressing a resolution from Saluda at its meeting next Thursday at 5:45 p.m.