You Asked, We Answered: What is the status of nuclear waste storage at Shearon Harris power plant?

This week, we’re heading to the power plant off of Shearon Harris Road, and it’s all thanks to Our Chatham subscriber Billy Cummings. He asked, “What is status of nuclear waste storage at Shearon Harris? How effective are local emergency management plans?”

Shearon Harris power plant. (Chloe Arrojado/Our Chatham)

What is Nuclear Waste, Anyways? Nuclear waste, also known as radioactive waste, refers to the
radioactive leftovers of a nuclear reaction.

Unregulated contaminants threaten Pittsboro’s water supply

In addition to expanding its water supply, the
town of Pittsboro is also trying to figure out the best way to cleanse it of
unregulated, potentially dangerous contaminants. Last fall, Pittsboro hired engineering and
construction firm CDM Smith to complete a public water supply and treatment
expansion study. In an October memo, town engineer Elizabeth Goodson wrote that
Pittsboro’s current public water demand “is approximately 700,000 gallons per
day” but is estimated to grow to approximately 3 million gallons by 2020, 7
million by 2030 and 10 million by 2040. But in addition to increasing the quantity of drinking water, Pittsboro is also interested in improving the quality of it. While Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck said the Pittsboro Water Treatment Plant meets state and federal standards, there are high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the Haw River, from where the town’s water comes.

What is Chatham County doing to stop silt pollution from construction near Fearrington?

Finally, it’s here. The story you’ve all been waiting for. In March, we asked you all to vote for the question you wanted us to answer the most. It was a tight race, but one question asked by Mary Ann Woehrel came out on top with 37 votes out of 117 total: “What is the county doing to stop the silt pollution coming from the construction on 15-501 next to Fearrington Village?” You know how it goes.

How will Chatham County find and pay for resources for new schools?

Chatham Park officials estimate that the
largest mixed-use development in the state will generate 6,051 additional
students in Chatham County. For context, Chatham County Schools currently
serves 8,840 students. 

More students, naturally, means more teachers. This thought wasn’t lost on William Rosenfeld, a self-described elderly professional who has “been very interested in education quality and funding for many decades.” With that in mind, Rosenfeld asked Our Chatham to report on how CCS will “find (and pay for) teachers?” with the Chatham Park development. Much of the growth is still a while down the
line, with no CCS in Chatham Park actively under construction or even formally
announced. But the need for future schools is undeniable, as long as plans hold
for Chatham Park to generate an additional 60,000 residents for Chatham County
in the next 40 years.

How Siler City’s Hispanic community found homes for 28 displaced families

With additional reporting by Giancarlo Garcia Salazar. When a million-dollar company tried to push 28 families out
of their homes, a local community center gave them the fuel to push back
instead of sitting down. El Vínculo Hispano, a nonprofit in Siler City, facilitated negotiations between former residents of Johnson’s Mobile Home Park—a majority Hispanic community—and Mountaire Farms, a chicken processing plant that bought the land that the trailers occupied. Over 12 percent of Chatham County reports Hispanic origins, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The new plant, off of U.S. 64, is open and accepting
applications for both management and entry-level positions.

How Siler City Elementary helps Latino parents connect with their children

“Because I said so,” is a response that many people grew up hearing from their parents. Although the phrase frequents households nationwide, a Costa Rican psychologist informed parents at Siler City Elementary School why this answer is detrimental for children. SCE
hosted its fifth meeting for the Latino Parents School on March 5. SCE’s
Community Outreach Committee created the program in October 2018 to inform
Latino parents about the North Carolina education system. The school’s student
population is over 62 percent Latino, according to school records, and most of
the parents are immigrants.