THE BRl BEACON
Twenty-ninth Year, Number 41 ?1*91 TM? MUNSW>CH MACON Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, August 15, 1991 5CK Per Copy 36 Pages, 3 Sections, 2 Inserts
BLAMED FOR COASTAL POLLUTION
Moratorium Placed On LPP Sewer Systems
II Y TKKKY POPE
Faulty, low pressure pipe sewer systems arc getting
blamed for polluting groundwater and coastal nursery
Until given assurances that they will be properly
monitored by experts, the Brunswick County Health
Department will no longer permit such sewer systems.
A moratorium was placed on installation of new
low pressure pipe (LPP) systems by the Brunswick
County Board of Health Monday night until "a manage
ment entity" is in place to inspccl the systems to "en
sure their proper maintenance."
Brad Williams' motion passed 4-3. He said the
health department doesn't have the personnel to proper
ly inspccl the systems that may be polluting Brunswick
"We're sinking," added Pat Nutter, board member.
"Putting more systems in and not having the manpower
to inspect them isn't right."
LPP sewer systems were developed in the early
1980s and approved by the slate as an alternative lor
soils where traditional gravity-fed septic tank systems
do not function.
Such systems must be wired and equipped with a
mechanical pump. They also contain a scries of small
pipes that make better use of top soils for drainage
In Brunswick County, 14 percent, or 16 of the 109
that have been installed, have also failed, said John
Crowder, environmental health specialist.
The failure rate for traditional systems is 12 percent,
There arc three larger LPP systems in the county
that handle from 3, (XX) to 10, (XX) gallons of wastewater
per day, said Crowder.
"All three have had problems," he said.
Long Beach resident Rosetta Short, who serves on
the Coastal Resources Advisory Council and is presi
dent of the Brunswick County Board of Realtors, be
lieves the moratorium will send a strong message to the
N.C. Health Services Commission to do away with
"This is a national problem," said Ms. Short. "It's
not just in certain areas."
The state may implement new rules in July 1992 re
quiring owners to contract with someone certified to in
spect and to operate LPP systems before a permit can
be issued. Health departments now arc required to in
spect LPP systems annually, said Crowder.
The new rules will require that operators inspect the
systems twice a year and to report to the health depart
ment annually. Crowder said at least three persons in
Brunswick County plan to become certified by the state
to operate LPP systems in January 1992.
Board member Frankie Rabon voted against the
moratorium. He said LPP systems arc used in places
other than near cstuarinc waters, making the ban an un
necessary hardship for other property owners.
Chairman Bill Rabon and Arthur Knox also voted
against the moratorium. Bill Rabon said a committee
should study the new LPP rules and form a health de
partment entity to oversee such systems before July.
"1 want to get the ball rolling," he said.
Frankie Rabon said he was not against setting up an
entity to oversee LPPs.
"I'm opposed to telling Mr. John Doc, 'You can't
put in this system,'" he added.
LPP systems aren't the only environmental health
issue giving department officials headaches.
Recent resignations of two health specialists have
created a backlog of applications for septic system soil
evaluations, said Crowder.
Contractors have been notified that inspections will
be done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only, he
said, until three department trainees arc certified.
The health department has a backlog of 14(1 applica
tions for soil evaluations, with 60 pending more than 10
days. The department tries to complete sue evaluations
within 10 days of permit application.
Ocean Isle Puts Limits
On Personal Watercraft
BY DOUG RUTTKR
After two years of talk, Occan
Isle Beach officials have finally put
restrictions on the use of personal
watercraft, commonly known as jet
Commissioners approved the new
rules Tuesday morning, regulating
where and how the popular devices
can be used in the ocean, waterway
Town officials approved the ordi
nance bccausc ihcy are concerned
about the safety of swimmers. They
say some people use jet skis and
similar dcviccs recklessly and drive
loo closc to people in the occan.
The rules adopted Tuesday arc
designed to provide more protection
during times of the year when more
people are visiting die resort com
Between April 1 and Sept. 30 of
each year, the ordinance prohibits
personal watercraft from operating
within 500 feet of the shoreline and
fishing piers between the hours of 7
a.m. until 6 p.m.
The devices must stay at least
300 feet away from the beach and
fishing piers during other times of
The rule also prohibits people
from launching, loading and refuel
ing the devices on the occan bcach
between April 1 and Sept. 30.
The ordinance sets year-round
speed limits for personal watercraft
in the finger canals and within 100
feet of any moored vessel in the
Operators arc not allowed to run
faster than "idle speed" or at any
speed that creatcs a "noticeable
" We've works hopped
it for about two years
now. I really don't
feel like the town
needs any additional
time to study the
? Mayor Betty Williamson
Mayor Betty Williamson, who
has heard a wave of complaints
about the small, noisy watercraft in
rccent years, said she gets phone
calls all the time about excessi/c
speed in the canals.
In die past, she said people have
ignored "No Wake" signs erected
by the town or simply taken them
Mike Powell, an Ocean Isle
Beach landowner w ho owns and op
erates personal watercraft, suggest
ed at Tuesday's town meeting that
the board hold a workshop before
adopting the rules.
Powell agreed that the town
needs some controls on the devices,
but said he had some ideas that he
thought would make the ordinance
Mayor Williamson said she ap
preciated Powell's comments, but
asked the town board to approve the
ordinance as it was written.
"We've workshopped it for about
two years now," she said. ""I really
don't feel like the town needs any
additional time to study the proth
She said there are more personal
watercraft being used than there
were two years ago when the town
started discussing the regulations.
Town officials started talking
about limits on personal watercrall
in 1989, gathering ordinances from
communities as lar away as Florida.
At Ocean Isle's request, Suite
Rep. David Rcdwinc introduced
legislation this year giving the town
the authority to regulate personal
watercraft along its shores.
Ten other communities, including
five in Brunswick County, were in
cluded in the legislation. Holden
Beach and Sunset Beach already
have regulations on personal water
Don ?'l cp^cificallv ()|^j H to
the provision requiring watercraft to
stay at least 3(X) feet from the beach
during the winter.
He wears a weusuit when he ndes
his personal watercraft in January
ai.o February and said there arc
very few people on the beach.
"The only people out there as
crazy as me are the surfers and 1
stay out of their way," Powell said.
In addition to limiting when and
where personal watercraft can be
used, the ordinance requires that
registration numbers be visible at all
Operators and riders must wear
life vests or other personal notation
devices approved by the Coast
Guard, and they must report all ac
cidents and properly damage to the
Violators have to pay a S25 fine
at town hall. The rules do not apply
to police, fire or rescue personnel
involved in an official operation re
lating to law enforcement, fire con
trol or water rescue.
STAfF PHOTO BY TERRY POPf
TAX OFFICE employee Pal Morgan's desk sits next to a mountain of envelopes ready for the
mailing of county tax bills, which are running about a month behind this year.
Tax Bills Await Word On Parcel Fees
HY TKRRY POPK
If you haven't received your Brunswick County
tax bill yet, it hasn't been lost in the mail. The lax
department's running about a month behind sched
ule getting them out.
"We've been getting a lot of phone calls," said
Boyd Williamson, Brunswick County tax adminis
Bills have been delayed by Brunswick County
Commissioners until a decision is made on parcel
fees, charges that will appear on the bills to help
pay for county trash disposal.
Commissioners are expected to vote on parcel
fees at their meeting Monday, Aug. 19. At least
County Manager David Clegg hopes so.
"They are all fully aware of the provisions of
the bill," said Clegg. "They're also aware that the
19th is due day. It's incumbent upon me to send
those tax bills."
House Bill 86, passed by the N.C. General
Assembly in July, allows counties in North
Carolina to charge fees to owners of improved lots
to pay for solid waste disposal. The fee could range
from S25 to S60, depending on whom is charged,
according to Clegg.
Once a decision is made, it will take the tax de
partment a week to 10 days to mail the tax bills,
said Williamson. The tax office has contracted with
a Cary firm to laser print the roughly 92,000 to
95,000 bills that represent an estimated 50,000
pieces of mail, he said.
Normally, the bills are mailed between July 12
18. This year, a bar graph will show how county tax
dollars arc being spent, said Williamson.
H.B. 86 was intended to give Brunswick
County permission to charge a one-time fee for ev
ery parcel of land, not to exceed S12 to S15 per
properly owner, said Clcgg.
The intent was to "raise the issue of recycling to
every man, woman and child in Brunswick
County," said Clcgg.
"What we were dealt with is not what we were
asking for," said Clcgg.
Once the bill entered the House, it became open
game for other counties lhat jumped in and revised
it, said Clegg. The outcome was a bill that neglects
the educational and conservation issue originally
raised and focuses more on how to raise revenues,
The original bill would have expired before
next year's budget, said Clcgg.
Brunswick County needs to raise about SI. 8
million to cover the cost of solid waste disposal and
recycling for the 1991-92 fiscal year. County offi
cials arc not sure if there will be a parcel fee in next
"My opinion is probably not," said Clcgg. "We
now have the authorization for it."
Instead, what Clcgg would like to sec are user
fees at transfer stations in Lcland, Southport and
Hale Swamp Road and at the county landfill in
Supply. Scales may be installed at the transfer sta
tions and tipping fees established at the landfill for
The county is also exploring the idea of issuing
a dump ticket to county property owners, who
would have to show the ticket before disposing of
trash at dump sites. Non-residents would have to
pay to dump garbage at transfer stations.
"I think it is important that there be some con
trols at the sites," said Clcgg. "It would be no more
inconvenient than it is anywhere else. Many of our
visitors are used to a more structured system."
Task Force Exploring Habitat Project
BY SUSAN UStlKR
Providing dcccnt, affordable shel
ter is the goal behind efforts to es
tablish a Habitat for Humanity pro
ject in Brunswick County.
The project is being spearheaded
by the South Brunswick intcrchurch
Council, an interdenominational, in
terracial coalition of lay members
and pastors of local churches.
The council's housing task forc<
will hold a special informational
meeting Monday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m.
at Shallotte First Baptist Church to
discuss the possible formation of a
county Habitat for Humanity pro
REV. IIANCOX REV. WARNER
All interested individuals, as well
as representatives of concerned
businesses, churches or community
organizations, arc asked to attend.
The Rev. Jack D. Hancox, co
chairman of the task force, said that
a representative of the nearest
Habitat project. Cape Fear Habitat
of Wilmington, will be the guest
speaker. Deborah Palmer will dis
cuss how that group organized and
how it raises funds, and show a film
depicting a recent Habitat for
Humanity project in Mexico.
Habitat for Humanity Internation
al is an ecumenical Christian hous
ing ministry. Its objective is to do
way with poverty housing in the
world and to make decent shelter a
matter of conscience.
While a number of local volun
(See TASK, Page 2-A)
Seafood Permit Proposal Aimed At Roadside Vendors
BY TERRY POPE
An increasing number of roadside seafood stands this
summer has county officials concerned, for such ven
dors arc unregulated by the health department.
'There arc those who see it as a public health prob
lem," said Bill Rabon, chairman of the Brunswick
County Board of Health.
District 3 County Commissioner Gene Pinkerton
wants the county to adopt an ordinance requiring
seafood vendors to purchase a permit and undergo regu
lar inspections by the health department.
"Selling of seafood and other food products is a con
cern of mine and many others in our county," said
He has asked the health board to consider a seafood
ordinance to protect residents from old seafood, frozen
seafood being sold as fresh and the trash left behind at
the vending sites.
Pinkcrton is also concerned that there arc no bath
room facilities for the people who staff the sites all day,
making it unsanitary for them to handle fresh seafood.
"1 am not interested in handicapping our people from
whatever their business interests are," said Pinkcrton,
"only that it is done properly and in the interest of
health for our citizens."
A permit would likely cost S5 to S15 and would tell
the health department "who these people arc and what
they arc selling," said Rabun.
"There's no guarantee of freshness," Rabon said.
"With tourists who do Hot know the difference, there
might be some harm there."
Health board members Pat Nutter, Brad Williams and
Bill Phillips have joined Rabon in forming a committee
to look into a possible county seafood ordinance.
Pinkcrton says he also plans to bring the matter be
fore the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners.
He asked the health board to "seriously consider a pro
gram that would improve the present conditions."
Under Pinkcrton's plan, permits would have to be
posted by the vendors so residents could recognize ones
that are operating within guidelines. Also, the permits
would require that the proper county sales taxes be col
lected on all seafood sold, he said.
Roadside vendors do not collect sales taxes, which is
a loss of revenues to the county, said Pinkciton.
"As far as sales taxes go, that's not our concern as a
board," said Rabon. "Our concern is the public's
Inspections would fall into the lap of those who
presendy inspect restaurants, swimming pools and mo
tels, said John Crowder, environmental health supervi
"I have seen more people selling shrimp in this coun
ty in the last two or three months than I've ever seen
before," said Crowdcr. "1 don't know where they're get
ting all of the shrimp."
Last fall, the health department surveyed the county's
roadside seafood vendors and seafood markets There
arc an estimated 100 outlets that sell seafood in
Brunswick County, said Crowder.
The survey indicated a majority did not want regula
tions, Crowdcr said.
"It's not a matter of what they want," added Rabon.
"We're not picking on these people. We're just con
cerned about out public's health."
Health Director MichacI Rhodes said his department
has reviewed local seafood ordinances adopted by
neighboring coastal countics.
The committee plans to draft a model ordinance for
Brunswick County based on those samples.