BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve construction of a $99 million low-pressure reverse-osmosis plant during Thursday's budget workshop.
The decision is in response to the revelation last year that GenX and other emerging compounds were been discharged into the Cape Fear River by Chemours at its Fayetteville Works facility. The Cape Fear River is the primary water source for most of southeastern North Carolina.
On April 16, the commissioners were presented with a report from CDM Smith, the firm hired to research and review data, conduct pilot tests and consult with experts about advanced water treatment methods. After reviewing the firm's report, county staff recommended construction of the RO plant.
The report showed that the pilot RO system set up at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant removed 45 Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including GenX, to as close to non-detectable limits as possible.
In one round of testing, all 45 PFAS compounds were removed to non-detectable levels. A second round of testing removed 44 of 45 PFAS compounds to non-detectable levels.
In the testing results, the total sum of 45 perflourinated chemicals was 11 nanograms per liter. All but one of the perflourinated chemicals were not detected in the treated water using the best technology currently available, representatives from CDM Smith told commissioners.
The plant is expected to cost approximately $99 million with additional operation and maintenance costs of around $2.9 million each year.
Bidding for the project is will start in June 2019 with construction wrapping up in July 2021.
Projections show a rate increase of around $6 for customers to cover the construction costs associated with the RO plant.