Reclaimed Water


Historically, once treated wastewater leaves a wastewater treatment facility, it has been discharged into a stream or river. Rather than discharging treated wastewater to a stream or river, a non-discharge facility uses the highly treated wastewater for large-scale irrigation. The highly treated wastewater is termed “Reuse” or “Reclaimed” water. Brunswick County operates over 25 miles of reuse force mains that supplies water for irrigation to four golf courses. Brunswick County also owns and operates 1,040 acres at three dedicated sites for irrigation of cover crops and infiltration ponds.

Sprinklers on a golf course

View a map of effluent lines in Brunswick County (PDF)

Infiltration Ponds

Infiltration pond

Infiltration ponds are essentially shallow artificial ponds that are designed to infiltrate water through permeable soils into the groundwater aquifer. Where the groundwater table is relatively shallow, the use of under-drains allows control of groundwater. Infiltration sites may be located next to rivers or other surface water bodies, particularly if hydro-geological studies show that the percolate will flow to the surface water system and will not impact the general groundwater quality. When using under-drains, infiltration ponds are designed for discharge rates that only slightly exceed the percolation rates.

Reuse Water

Using reuse water for irrigation has several advantages. One major advantage is that reuse water replaces potable water from the County's water system that would have been used for irrigation. This reduces the peak loading on the water system which ultimately reduces costs and forestalls the need for expansion of the potable water system. Additionally, using reuse water for irrigation allows golf courses to reduce the amount of fertilizer applications on the courses.

Tertiary treatment of effluent involves a series of additional steps after secondary treatment to further reduce organics, turbidity, nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, and pathogens. Brunswick County uses different forms of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) processes that remove total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) from wastewater using microorganisms under different environmental conditions in the treatment process. Along with the biological process, these facilities also have effluent filters to reduce turbidity, and disinfection to eliminate pathogens.

Reclaimed Water

Currently, reclaimed water is produced at West Brunswick Regional, Ocean Isle Beach, and Sea Trail treatment facilities.

  • West Brunswick Regional Water Reclamation Facility is the county’s largest facility rated at 6.0 MGD.  It is an Oxidation Ditch facility, which is a continuous-flow process using looped channels to create time-sequenced anoxic, aerobic, and anaerobic zones used to remove both Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorous. The West Brunswick Regional Water Reclamation Facility uses four effluent tertiary filters to reduce turbidity and chlorine for disinfection. This facility provides reclaimed water for Carolina National Golf Course in the Winding River community, The Members Club Golf Course, and Reserve Club Golf Course in St. James. West Brunswick also has 3 dedicated sites for dispersal of reuse water, including International Paper (IP), Mercer Mill (MM), and Drip Irrigation sites. International Paper and Mercer Mill use both irrigation of cover crops and infiltration ponds on site.
  •  Ocean Isle Beach Water Reclamation Facility is rated at 1.050 MGD. It is a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) batch process alternating anoxic/aerobic/anoxic/aerobic stages used to remove Total Nitrogen and Total phosphorus. Ocean Isle Beach uses a sand filter for reduction of turbidity and UV for disinfection.  Although the facility produces reclaimed water, currently this water is only used within the site on spray fields owned and maintained by Brunswick County.
  • Sea Trail Water Reclamation Facility is rated at 0.30 MGD. It is an extended aeration facility with sand filters for the reduction of turbidity and UV disinfection. Sea Trail produces reclaimed water for the three golf courses at Sea Trail Plantation, these courses are Jones, Byrd, and Maples. Although Brunswick County owns and maintains the facility, the golf courses are privately owned.