Restaurants on the south side of East Main Street in Carrboro might be forced to close unless they meet proper regulations set by the county’s health department.
A sewer line that serves several businesses, including Armadillo Grill, ACME Food and Beverage Co. and the Orange County Social Club, experienced a blockage in late August. As a temporary solution, the businesses redirected their sewage lines into a private pipeline underneath the Bank of America building.
Orange County Environmental Health director Tom Konsler said the solution does not meet the appropriate standards.
“Typically an approved connection connects the building waste plumbing to the OWASA line,” he said. “What they’ve got now is a collection basin connecting through a neighboring private line.”
Konsler said the private line is not adequately sized for the number of businesses it now supports or fitted with the proper safety precautions.
After the county set the businesses letters threatening closure, the business owners appealed and a hearing date was set for early next year, Konsler said.
“Our goal is to continue working with the businesses so they can stay in operation until they have an appropriate sewer connection made,” he said.
Tricia Mesigian, owner of Orange County Social Club, said she hopes the situation will be resolved.
“We’ve been working very closely with the health department, so I guess I’m optimistic that they won’t shut us down,” she said.
However, she added the plumbing situation has been an ongoing problem so she is grateful the issue is being addressed.
“If we have to shut down in order for this to get fixed, then I’m glad to do it,” she said.
The town’s priority is to keep the businesses open and provide support to help reparations move forward, said Alderwoman Joal Hall Broun.
“They are valued members of our community, they provide jobs and they have excellent business owners,” she said.
The town has made money available to the businesses to make the necessary repairs, but it hasn’t been tapped into yet, said Annette Stone, Carrboro’s economic development director.
Meanwhile, all parties are considering permanent solutions to connect the businesses to OWASA lines. Some options include each business having individual lines to Main Street or developing sewage pipes to nearby Roberson Street.
“A continued shared line is the most cost-effective in the short run, but in the long run, something else needs to be done,” Stone said.
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