Brunswick County to take over Southport’s water and sewer systems

Southport Board of Aldermen unanimously passed sewer plant expansion
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:36 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Water and sewer service will soon be less expensive for people who live in Southport. Their monthly bills will be going down, thanks to the new state budget.

$35 million has been allotted to Brunswick County to take over Southport’s water and sewer systems. It’s a partnership Mayor Joseph Hatem has advocated for years.

“In 2019, the city was moving toward building its own wastewater treatment plant. It was something that I promoted and recommended that we not do that,” said Mayor Hatem.

Four years later, after realizing the cost of going alone, city leaders decided regionalizing water and sewer service with the county made financial sense.

“We have pipes all over the city that need to be repaired. We have pump stations that need to be upgraded and repaired, we just have not done a lot of infrastructure improvement over the last decade, and this finally caught up with us,” said Mayor Hatem.

The merger will benefit all Southport residents, who will see anywhere from a 30 to 50 percent decrease on their monthly bill, and that’s just one of the advantages.

“Secondly, we’re going to have the capacity to handle thousands of people that are coming here, like for July Fourth or for the Wooden Boat Show or Spring Festival and that type thing,” said Mayor Hatem. “So, our sewer system will have capacity for now and for the future, which is which is such a blessing.”

State Representative Charlie Miller, who helped secure 15 of the 35 million dollars for the county, calls it the end of a long journey, with a rewarding final result for all involved.

“State budget’s been a long process. So we’re finally glad to cross the finish line and it should become law next week. So we’re really excited about that,” said Miller.

Mayor Hatem says help from the state will allow Southport to leave the sewage business.

“When we need funding for projects that are so important to our city and to our county, they’ve been right there for us,” said Mayor Hatem.