Brunswick County Moves Forward with Water Quality System Improvement Plans


Following the approval of a contract with CDM Smith Jan. 16, Brunswick County is moving forward with a study of water treatment methods for different compounds, with construction of a new treatment method or combination of methods expected to begin in the summer of 2019.

CDM Smith, an internationally-known firm based out of Raleigh, is consulting with emerging contaminant experts Dr. Charles E. Schaefer, Jr., Dr. Philip C. Singer and Dr. Detlef Knappe, utilizing data from prior studies, and conducting pilot-scale testing of low pressure reverse osmosis and bench-scale testing of UV-AOP treatment.

“We are excited that, with the hard work of CDM Smith and our dedicated staff, we are moving forward with studying different treatment methods,” said County Manager Ann Hardy. “These actions will enable us to determine the best treatment method – or combination of methods – for our water supply, not only for GenX but for other unregulated compounds that may be found.”

In addition to serving over 40,000 retail customers, Brunswick County has ten wholesale utility water customers that serve over 30,000 additional retail customers within Brunswick County. Brunswick County is evaluating treatment options that address water quality issues affecting all of the more than 70,000 customers within the County, rather than just a small subset of customers. This approach allows Brunswick County to take advantage of economies of scale associated with the construction costs of additional water treatment methods.

In contrast to source water that has a high chloride content, there are multiple advanced treatment options that may be considered for treating fresh water sources such as the Cape Fear River source water used by Brunswick County. Brunswick County is currently assessing several different advanced water treatment options including ion exchange, granular activated carbon, advanced oxidatation processes, and Low Pressure Reverse Osmosis. This evaluation will help to ensure that the most cost-effective long-term solution that meets treatment needs is selected.

A study of these methods and their impact on different compounds, both when used independently and when used in combination, is due in March of 2018. A final report is due in April, with design work on the selected treatment method or methods scheduled to begin in July of 2018. Design work should take approximately a year, with construction beginning in the 2019-20 fiscal year and taking approximately 18 months to complete.

Updates about these water treatment improvement plans, Brunswick County’s water testing results and GenX in general are posted online at and emailed to those who have signed up for notifications at