Wedgefield to Orange County: Take over our water plant

Monday homeowner's association meeting to discuss buyout options

Residents in the community of Wedgefield, Orange County, are convinced the water provided by Dallas based Pluris LLC isn’t good enough to drink and they want Orange County Utilities to take over operations from the privately run company.

Sonia Franklin, a mother of two, told News 6 she is convinced the quality of the drinking water has gotten worse since she first moved to Wedgefield in 2005.

“I won’t let the children brush their teeth with it, she told News 6. "I won’t even wash my hands with it.”
Franklin said she runs PH and chlorine tests on the tap water in her kitchen three times a week. If the levels aren’t right she said, the water is off limits for everything, but “showers and washing clothes.”

Instead of tap water her family uses bottled water and spring water that is delivered to her home every few weeks.

File: OCU vs Wedgefield Rate Comparison

Franklin is one of the hundreds of residents who have already signed a letter to support a county takeover, something that has been in discussion stages since last fall.

“We’re as far east as you can go and we’re still considered Orange County,” she said. “So why can’t we have county utilities?”

The county has been receptive to the community concerns and has presented a long term proposal for rates to cover the expense of the proposed buyout.

Todd Swingle, of Orange County Utilities, told News 6 the county will initiate buyout negotiations with Pluris LLC once sixty-seven percent, or 1,200 signatures, have been collected.

“It’s really up to the residents, said Swingle, “If the support is there that’s when we would begin to pursue trying to meet with Pluris.”

Pluris LLC did not respond to NEWS 6 email requests for a comment on the residents’ concerns or the potential buyout.

Swingle admitted there are no guarantees Pluris would be open to selling the plant.

File: Wedgefield commitment letter

Pam DiMarzio, one of five HOA directors in the community, has been leading a grass roots effort to gather the
signatures to make what has been billed as the “Wedgefield Water Switch.”

She said she was concerned by the test results gathered in random water samples screened from 21 homes in April.

The data showed elevated levels of TTHM’s ((trihalomethanes) exceeding the acceptable 80 parts per billion (many as high as 150-200 ppb).

THM is a group of four chemicals that are formed along with other disinfection by products when chlorine or other disinfectants is used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water.

“If it’s bleaching our clothes, what is it doing to our insides?” asked DiMarzio.

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