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Posted on: October 11, 2022

No PFAS detected in Sweeney treated water as CFPUA activates new GAC filters

Running faucet

New Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant are online, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority announced Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, October 11, 100 percent of the water leaving the Sweeney Plant is being treated by the new GAC filters. Testing detected no PFAS, including GenX, in drinking water treated at the Sweeney Plant and distributed to customers. CFPUA will continue its ongoing program to monitor PFAS levels in raw (untreated) and finished (treated) water at Sweeney. Results are posted on CFPUA.org.

The Sweeney Plant provides drinking water to approximately 80 percent of CFPUA’s customers, sourcing water from the Cape Fear River. The new filters at Sweeney contain almost 3 million pounds of GAC and is believed to be the largest GAC public water treatment facility in North Carolina.

Six of the eight deep-bed GAC filters are currently online, with a combined water treatment capacity of 33 million gallons per day (MGD). This is ample capacity for CFPUA to meet current customer water demand. The remaining two filters are ready for service if needed.

“Five years ago, we learned Chemours and DuPont had been releasing GenX and other PFAS into the Cape Fear River, the main source of our drinking water,” CFPUA Board Chairwoman Jennifer Adams said. “Five years ago, we came together as one community to find the best way to effectively treat PFAS for our current and future customers. Today, I am proud to tell you the treatment solution is here and working right now.”

Following an extensive 2018 pilot study to evaluate potential water treatment technologies to remove PFAS, deep-bed GAC filters were selected as the best solution for the Sweeney Plant. Construction on CFPUA’s Sweeney Treatment Enhancements Project began in November 2019.

This July, crews began loading the eight deep-bed filters with GAC media. Over the past several weeks, each filter has been carefully washed and rinsed and rigorously tested to ensure proper operation.

On Tuesday, CFPUA’s Board and staff gathered with local and state government leaders to celebrate this landmark water quality achievement.

“This is the result of the combined efforts of our community, my fellow board members, our customers, the staff here at CFPUA, our City and County leadership, our elected representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly, and, of course, the consultants and contractors and their crews who worked on this project and are working now to wrap up the finishing touches,” Chairwoman Adams said.

For more information about the Sweeney Treatment Enhancements Project, visit CFPUA.org/Sweeney.

GAC-8-2022

One of eight deep-bed Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters currently in service at CFPUA's Sweeney Water Treatment Plant. 

Jennifer-Adams

CFPUA Board Chairwoman Jennifer Adams speaks during a press conference Tuesday, October 11, announcing that new Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters have been brought online at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.