NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Iron levels in the water from the Richardson Water Treatment Plant are starting to go down as lower demands have allowed Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to rely on other sources.
CFPUA has been able to stop using wells with potentially more iron content that were brought online to meet the high demands driven by abnormally hot and dry weather this summer and early fall. Higher water use rates over the summer have put a strain on the filter membranes used at the plant.
According to CFPUA, crews will soon be flushing portions of the Richardson water distribution system over the next several days as well.
Several customers in northern New Hanover County recently reported a yellow tint to their drinking water, which is caused by high levels of iron. While it impairs the color, the iron does not pose a health threat, according to officials.
"For the people that have this happening in their water, the average level of iron has been 1.45 milligrams per liter (mg/L),” said Vaughn Hagerty, Public Information Officer for CFPUA. “The state of North Carolina has set the advisory of 2.5 (mg/L) for the most susceptible people, like babies or elderly, so we’ve been consistently below that level.”
Test results of treated water at Richardson indicated iron concentrations had dropped from 0.8 mg/L on Sept. 30 to 0.2 mg/L on Oct. 6.
CFPUA had planned on replacing these filters next year, but now are reconsidering replacing them by next spring.