On Thursday, September 28, CFPUA is scheduled to send representatives to speak before the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality regarding actions it is taking related to water quality concerns.
Mike Brown, Chairman of the Board, and Frank Styers, Chief Operations Officer, will present a summary of CFPUA’s on-going actions regarding GenX, including: the pilot test at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant; the Aquifer Storage and Recovery project; and our collaboration with the University of North Carolina Wilmington on water quality in the Cape Fear River.
Below New Hanover County, three aquifers are located at various depths known as the Surficial, Castle Hayne and Peedee aquifers. Aquifers act as groundwater sources for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and owners of private wells in the region. In addition to acting as a source for drinking water, however, aquifers are increasingly being used across the country to store drinking water as well.
Following this trend, CFPUA began an aquifer storage and recovery project to help us manage water distribution during periods of high demand. Water that was treated at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant was injected into the Upper Peedee Aquifer (see chart below) and was to be pulled back out during periods of high demand, such as during the raw water main break in October of 2016.
Testing has since confirmed that the water held in the Aquifer Storage and Recovery site does contain GenX. To avoid distributing water with levels of GenX that are higher than what we are currently serving customers, and to remain in compliance with state regulations, CFPUA has begun pumping the injected water out of its holding area in the aquifer.
As the image below shows, the Upper Peedee Aquifer is below several layers of water, silt, limestone and clay. The long rectangular bars represent monitoring wells in the area that will help CFPUA staff measure the drawdown of water during the pumping phase. CFPUA began pumping water on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, CFPUA received results for the period September 8-11 from our on-going GenX testing at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant. Levels of GenX continue to remain below the DHHS health goal of 140 ppt.