CFPUA: Your water bill will eventually go up $5 to cover facility filter upgrades

CFPUA: Your water bill will eventually go up $5 to cover facility filter upgrades

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) is upgrading its Sweeney Water Treatment Plant to more effectively remove PFAS compounds like GenX, and customer water bills will increase to an extra $5 per month by 2022.

“It will be going to pay the principal and interest on the money that we borrowed to design and construct the upgrade, and then also to fund the operating costs for the filter," said John McLean, CFPUA’s chief financial officer.

CFPUA will borrow $46 million for design and construction of the new granular activated carbon filtration system, McLean said. Principal and interest will cost CFPUA $2.7 million over the next 25 years starting in 2020.

When the upgrade becomes operational in 2022 or 2023, CFPUA will require an extra $2.9 million per year for filter replacement and removal of chemicals.

All of this information and more was covered in a public information session hosted by CFPUA on Thursday night. Jim Flechtner, CFPUA’s executive director, led the session about PFAS and the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.

CFPUA filed a lawsuit against Chemours, asking the chemical company to pay for expenses that CFPUA has incurred as a result of their discharge.

Chemours has filed a suit to dismiss.

“That action is currently being reviewed by the courts,” said McLean.

Regarding customers' bills, CFPUA will phase in a $2.50 increase in 2020, and a $5 bump in 2022.

The filter design has been approved by the CFPUA board, and it will take about three years to complete construction.

Scientific research on PFAS like GenX suggests reducing your exposure protects health, according to information in the presentation.

CFPUA monitors the water for 45 PFAS compounds, eight of which do not have standards and results must be estimated. Forty-seven of the compounds have standards for measurement. Of those, CFPUA regularly detects about 10.

The company hopes its new filtration technology will eliminate the chemicals from finished drinking water.

The combined levels of PFAS in water on Oct. 1 was about 87 parts per trillion, according to information in the presentation.

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