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Ask Matt ... about Bearwallow water

Intrepid inquirer Matt Matteson answers questions for Lightning readers.



Q. Is it true that The Grand Highlands development on Bearwallow Mountain in Edneyville has city water? If so, who gave the OK?
Yes, the water is there but before the Hendersonville would extend water to Grand Highlands they needed the County's OK. That was given in 2007 following a 3-2 vote. According to the City Water Department, the developer paid to install the water mains and three booster pump stations to get up to the top of Bearwallow Mountain, then put in a water storage tank plus a hydro-pneumatic pump station to serve the homes. The City owns the system and property owners pay connection fees. Nice views up there at 3,400 feet — one of the highest points in the county — and only a short 30-minute drive to town.



Q. I moved here from New Bern and the Craven County in Eastern North Carolina recycling center there accepted residential yard debris, which they shredded and offered free to residents. This eliminated dumping in unwanted areas.
I take it your question is, "Can we do this here?" I did some quick research and found that the Craven County landfill is actually a partnership serving three coastal counties. Yes, the landfill operators do grind up yard waste and sell it in bulk to the public as compost — but you now pay $30 a ton. Here's how it works. After grinding, the material is laid out in windrows then water is added. The internal temperature of the compost piles rise to over 131 degrees, which kills weed seeds, destructive insects and other undesirable organics. Then the ground material is put through a fine screen with the larger pieces sold as mulch. This operation takes up many acres of flat land and, as we all know, Henderson County's landfill is built on the side of a mountain. Now hold that thought.
Our county landfill accepts yard waste but you pay by the ton. We contract with a local company that brings in a grinder twice a year to chip our stockpile and haul it out. Not too long ago we were giving it away to the public but according to County Engineer, Marcus Jones, the state modified our permit and we had to stop the practice. One issue was stormwater runoff and another was bad organics in the mulch — a problem Craven County solved with their "flat land" composting system. Jones said that the county is still looking for ways to work in partnership with local companies to accept our chipped yard waste and reduce the waste stream into the landfill. Jones added that if we ever again offer mulch to the public we must be careful not to do so in competition with the private sector.

Send your questions to Lightning columnist Matt Matteson at