CFPUA gives update on water quality following Florence

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(Photo: CFPUA)

WILMINGTON, NC (Press Release) — Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) wants to address continued news reports and social media stories concerning drinking water quality.

As we survey the storm’s damage and more stories emerge about animal waste, biological spills, and coal ash, we understand more about the storm’s impacts on the environment.

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Large numbers of trees are down across the region and storm surge and riparian flooding have led to some water quality concerns in local creeks, wetlands, and ponds. We share our customer’s concerns.

At this time, CFPUA’s water system remains stable. Before the storm, CFPUA had measures in place to address possible contaminants. And, due to the unique nature of Hurricane Florence’s aftermath, we have also taken additional steps to ensure water quality during the recovery phase. Our drinking water quality is enhanced by the following preventative actions, as well as other steps:

  • The Sweeney Water Treatment Plant is a state-of-the-art plant. It is exceptionally effective at eliminating the additional waste loading currently found in the Cape Fear River. Ozone is the primary treatment process and is extraordinarily powerful in removing biological contamination. After the ozone treatment process, the water is further treated to ensure the best water quality possible.
  • Our Richardson plant treats groundwater with a nanofiltration system that use membranes to produce the best water quality possible.
  • Both the Sweeney and Richardson water treatment plants have produced potable water throughout Hurricane Florence and her aftermath. CFPUA has produced more than 100 million gallons of potable water since Florence began. All of our plants have continuously produced water meeting all State and Federal standards without interruption.
  • Media reports stating coal ash from the Duke Energy site could cause drinking water contamination in Wilmington are incorrect. CFPUA’s drinking water intake is located more than 20 miles above the breach that occurred along the Sutton Lake dam.
  • Throughout the storm, CFPUA’s Environmental Safety and Management staff monitored water quality using a variety of tools. For many contaminants in the river, CFPUA and our regional partners have established on-line monitoring tools at our intakes that continuously collect data on levels of certain compounds in the river. These tools allow us to monitor algal levels, pH, turbidity, and total organic carbon. For other contaminants that cannot be monitored continuously, like PFAS, CFPUA staff conducted daily sampling to collect data on levels before, during, and after the storm.

As a customer, if you have normal water flow in your house, then you can continue to consume your water as usual. If you have no- or low-flow, please contact a Customer Service Representative at (910) 332-6550. They will send a CFPUA employee to make sure the water system in your area is working correctly.

If you would like to know more about the levels of compounds in drinking water, CFPUA staff will continue to update our website with results as they come in. CFPUA will immediately report the issue to the public through all available channels if there is any potential impact from any environment incident taking place.

We continue to thank our customers for their patience as we all emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.