As the 40-year struggle for sewer service in the Rogers Road community continues, local officials are exploring a new option that would give the community more independence.
Nathan Wangusi, a technical assistance provider working with Rogers Road through the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, said the latest idea is to incorporate the area as a utility district.
If the plan is approved, Rogers Road’s water and sewer services would be independent of Orange County, and the neighborhood would apply directly to the state and federal governments for funding.
Wangusi said the project is ambitious for such a small area.
“Utility districts have autonomy, but with autonomy comes a great deal of responsibility,” Wangusi said.
He said the neighborhood — which has housed the county’s landfill since 1972 — would have to show that it has the infrastructure to sustain a sewer district.
“The benefit of having the county in charge now is that they have the capital and technical expertise,” he said. “And you can blame them when things go wrong — you can’t do that when you’re independent.”
Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County officials have discussed how to provide sewer service for years, but the discussion has often splintered over cost.
Orange County Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier said she is hopeful about the proposal to incorporate.