Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has contracted with a Wilmington-based engineering company to pump approximately 50 million gallons of previously treated drinking water from the Cape Fear River out of an aquifer it had been stored in for later use.
CFPUA’s aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) stores treated water from the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant into the Upper Peedee Aquifer during off peak demand time. The water is then pumped out later for use as drinking water.
The water is believed to be contaminated by GenX and other unregulated chemicals found in the Cape Fear River, which is the source of CFPUA's drinking water. The water company is currently unable to filter these compounds out of the water. The state has sampled the ASR water and results of the analysis are pending, according to CFPUA staff.
Catlin Engineers will remove the millions of gallons of water put into the aquifer and test it for GenX, CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner announced during Wednesday's board meeting. CFPUA is working with other local and state agencies to determine appropriate testing standards for other chemicals structurally similar to GenX also found in the Cape Fear River.
As of now, the project is in the planning phase while Catlin Engineering works to determine the best option for removal, according to CFPUA staff.
The water removed from the ASR will likely be sent through the Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant located at 2311 North 23rd Street and discharged into the Cape Fear River -- well below any intake for drinking water, officials said.
The contract is not expected to surpass $50,000, according to staff.
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