Customer bills to increase in CFPUA’s proposed FY23 budget

The proposed budget includes costs associated with measures to reduce GenX in drinking water
CFPUA bills may go up $5/month is proposed budget adopted
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 12:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The average Cape Fear Public Utility Authority customer’s bill will increase by around $5 per month for combined water and sewer services beginning July 1, 2022 if the proposed FY23 budget totaling $99.2 million is adopted at a meeting on Wednesday.

The increase of $5.39 for the average customer marks the first increase of this type since FY19.

About 70 percent of the cost increase is related to measures taken to address Chemours’ PFAS contamination of the Cape Fear River.

“PFAS-related costs total almost $8 million in FY23 and include funds to operate new granular activated carbon filters scheduled to come online this summer,” according to the news release. “These new filters will effectively treat for Chemours’ PFAS, reducing GenX to at or near non-detection.”

Inflation, salary adjustments and expenses incurred to address employee recruitment and retention are partly responsible for the remainder of the increase.

The proposed FY23 budget is $7.1 million more than the FY22′s adopted budget of $92 million (see appropriations below).

WECT reached out to CFPUA for comment and received the following statement from Public Information Officer Vaughn Hagerty:

“Yes, CFPUA has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to recoup costs and damages our community has incurred and continues to incur to address the decades of PFAS pollution from the Fayetteville Works. It’s difficult to say how or when that might be resolved, though it often takes several years.

“I’d hesitate to predict what might result from any settlement or award, which could vary widely in terms of amount and structure and likely would occur years in the future. CFPUA is public entity, funded by ratepayers and operating without any profit, so our customers would be the beneficiaries of any amount received from the lawsuit.”

The increase is driven mainly by operating costs related to Chemours’ PFAS contamination in the...
The increase is driven mainly by operating costs related to Chemours’ PFAS contamination in the Cape Fear River(CFPUA)

The CFPUA Board will hold a public hearing on CFPUA’s proposed fiscal year 2023 (FY23) operating budget at its regular meeting at 9 a.m., Wednesday, May 11, in the Lucie Harrell Conference Room of the NHC Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive, Wilmington. A vote on the budget will follow the public hearing.

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