Wake County residents will have an opportunity to comment on the federal National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, proposed for a site just five miles north of Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary source of drinking water.
Raleigh City Council is holding a public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. at the council's chambers, 222 W. Hargett St. The council could vote on whether to support NBAF, but could also choose only to hear public comment and delay the decision.
Last fall, Raleigh leaders sent a lengthy list of concerns and questions to the Department of Homeland Security, which will manage the facility with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At NBAF, as it's known, researchers will study some of the world's deadliest diseases, including those infectious to animals and humans.
"The council was unanimous in expressing concerns about the water supply source," Allen said.
So far, Raleigh leaders have received no response from DHS. City Manager Russell Allen said the questions would likely be answered in the federally mandated Environmental Impact Statement.
Department of Homeland Security officials could not be reached for comment.
Dean Naujoks, Upper Neuse riverkeeper, opposes siting NBAF so close to the lake. "Why on earth would the City of Raleigh want this sitting above their watershed?" he asked. "It's possible to go 20 to 30 years without an accident, but if there is one, the potential for serious problems is very great."
Stem and Creedmoor town councils and Granville County Commissioners have either voted against NBAF or withdrawn their support.