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The original item was published from 7/30/2013 3:11:56 PM to 7/30/2013 3:12:51 PM.

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Posted on: July 30, 2013



Lightning, power outage leads to equipment failure; Investigation ongoing


CONTACT: Mike McGill
(910) 332-6704
After Hours: (910) 622-8472

This news release was issued on July 30, 2013, in compliance with North Carolina General Statute 143-251.1C (a portion of the Clean Water Act of 1999). For further information, contact Mike McGill, Chief Communications Officer for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) at the contact numbers and emails given above.

Wilmington, NC (July 30, 2013): Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) crews responded to and stopped a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) that occurred Monday at approximately 3:15 p.m. at the Hewletts Creek Pump station located near the intersection of Pine Grove Drive and Greenville Loop Road. A series of events that occurred during yesterday’s storm led to the SSO. First, lightning knocked out CFPUA’s monitoring system to 29 pump stations, including Hewletts Creek. Next, a major transformer located next to the plant site failed in a manner that affected the pump station’s backup systems, causing the overflow to begin. Because the monitoring system was down, the SSO took place for an extended period of time. It was stopped at 4:48 p.m. when staff brought diesel pumps online and returned the station to normal operations.

CFPUA crews were able to contain some of the overflow within the pump station’s berm. Crews then vacuumed the contained wastewater from the berm and other locations at the site and returned it to the sewer system. However, approximately 441,881 gallons of wastewater reached the surface or entered nearby Hewletts Creek. CFPUA Environmental Management staff members have conducted water quality testing at various locations at and around the site and initial results are expected within the next 24 hours. This incident is under further investigation by CFPUA and has been reported to the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

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Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) was formed by the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County to combine their water and sewer operations. It began operations on July 1, 2008. Today, the Authority serves more than 67,000 water customer accounts and more than 63,000 wastewater customer accounts. It oversees more than 1,000 miles of water distribution mains and nearly 1,000 miles of sewer mains. For more information, visit or contact CFPUA’s Communications staff at

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