DENR Wastewater Irrigation System Permit

USDA inspection report

Consultant reports

Correspondence with the N.C. Department of Agriculture

Correspondence with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Messages to neighbors and Preserve Rural Orange

Response to PRO questions

Response to PRO proposal

Correspondence with Orange County

Correspondence with the National Institutes of Health

Correspondence with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

UNC News Release

Public Notice

Bingham Facility Organizational Structure

 

Spacer Useful Links:
  Spacer

Campus Maps

  Spacer

Visitor Parking

  Spacer

Chapel Hill Transit

    Carolina North
   

 

The Bingham Facility

The Bingham Facility is an animal facility in western Orange County that has been owned and operated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since the early 1970s. It currently houses a colony of dogs born with various genetic blood diseases—a colony the University has maintained for research since the late 1940’s.  These dogs are used in the University’s leading biomedical research that seeks cures through conventional medical treatment and gene therapy for hemophilia, von Willebrand Disease and Factor VII Deficiency.

Recent developments. For many years, with only one building on site, the University used the Bingham Facility primarily for quarantine of newly acquired animals, swing space, and overflow space.  In 2008, the University adopted a long-range plan with the goal of consolidating dogs used in blood research and muscular dystrophy research, and pigs used in cardiovascular research into expanded facilities at the Bingham location.  Toward that end, UNC installed a second wastewater treatment system and constructed a second research building for dogs, with plans for four more buildings subject to securing adequate funds. 

Then in 2009 a series of problems occurred at the facility, including a leak from a large holding pond that allowed some highly treated wastewater to reach a tributary of Collins Creek. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued two violations for the incidents.  The violations were for the method of discharge (leaking into the ground instead of being spray irrigated); they were not for contamination of the environment. Test samples taken from the monitoring wells on the site as well as the drinking water wells at the facility and at an adjoining property owned by the University have shown no pattern of contamination.  The University stopped treating wastewater on site in late 2009 and instead began pumping and hauling untreated wastewater directly to OWASA for treatment.

The problems with the wastewater treatment coincided with substantial state budget cuts to the University, and the senior leadership at UNC was faced with some difficult choices.  UNC had obtained funding for a third building, and it was already under construction.  In the summer of 2010, The National Institutes of Health awarded UNC a $14.5 million grant from Recovery Act funds for the construction of buildings 4 and 5.  However, there were no funds for building 6, and engineering studies indicated that the waste water treatment system installed in 2008—which had already been cited twice by DENR—could not accommodate the waste water that would have been produced from the operation of five buildings.  UNC could not construct buildings 4 and 5 without investing many millions of dollars to upgrade infrastructure at the facility.  After a careful analysis, School of Medicine Dean William Roper reluctantly decided to relinquish the $14.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and to cancel further expansion.

Meanwhile, Bob Lowman, associate vice chancellor for research, was appointed in February 2010 to oversee the rehabilitation of the Bingham Facility and to establish an ongoing dialogue with the facility’s neighbors and with representatives of Preserve Rural Orange, an advocacy group in rural Orange County.  He also led the effort to modify UNC’s existing wastewater treatment permit from DENR and mitigate any damage done to existing wetlands.

Lowman initiated several changes to reduce water usage and wastewater generation at the Bingham Facility, such as maintaining the animals on disposable dry bedding and installing a new, more efficient cage washer. The original permitted wastewater treatment system (the one with no DENR violations) is being refurbished and the newer failed system completely removed. Instead of plastic liners, the holding ponds will be lined with clay, which meets requirements for the final soil filtration step of treatment.  DENR recently approved a permit modification that allows these changes.  Construction to implement these changes is underway and should be complete by the middle of 2014.  

Bingham Facility Organizational Structure

DENR Wastewater Irrigation System Permit

Bingham site plan (Nov. 2013)

USDA inspection report

Closure report for incinerator (2010)

Potable water supply well testing results (2010)

Presentation to Environmental Review Commission

Consultant reports

Correspondence with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Correspondence with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Messages to neighbors and Preserve Rural Orange

Response to PRO questions

Response to PRO proposal

Correspondence with Orange County

Correspondence with the National Institutes of Health

Correspondence with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

News Releases/Columns

Public Notice

 




Contact Us

UNC Home

Directories

Search

Departments