Northwest Water Treatment Plant Expansion & Reverse Osmosis Treatment Upgrades

Project Timeline

Project Timeline

Anticipated Milestones

  • Project Design: Completed Fall 2019
  • Construction: Began Summer 2020; currently ongoing
  • Anticipated Beneficial Use of Low-Pressure Reverse Osmosis Treatment System: Late 2023
  • Anticipated Project Completion Date: Early 2024

What We're Doing

This project is the last phase of a three-phase project that will install an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis water treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Low-pressure reverse osmosis is considered the most advanced and effective method to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated materials from drinking water, including GenX, 1,4-dioxane and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The project will also expand the conventional treatment facility from 24 million gallons per day to 48 million gallons per day and will provide a low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment capacity of no less than 36 million gallons per day (MGD).

Phases one and two were completed in 2010 and 2015, respectively. The County re-evaluated the third phase of the project after the discovery of PFAS substances in the Cape Fear River in June 2017. The Commissioners selected engineering and consulting firm CDM Smith in January 2018 to evaluate advanced water treatment options for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant to eliminate these substances. CDM Smith conducted a pilot low-pressure reverse osmosis testing program at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. In April 2018, CDM Smith's reported that the pilot low-pressure reverse osmosis system reduced most PFAs to undetectable levels.

The Local Government Commission approved the Northwest Water Treatment Plant project's financing at its May 5, 2020 meeting and revenue bonds were issued June 4, 2020 with ratings received from Standard and Poor's (AA-) and Moody's (Aa3) have been affirmed and assigned. The Board also unanimously approved a $6,595,000 construction contract with T. A. Loving Company for the construction of the Northwest Water Treatment Plant Concentrate Discharge Pipeline, which will carry discharge from the plant to the Cape Fear River. Since then, the pipeline has been completed at a reduced construction cost of $6,240,345.

At its May 18, 2020 meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved a $122,600,000 construction contract with Oscar Renda Contracting for the construction of the Northwest Water Treatment Plant Expansion and Reverse Osmosis Upgrades.

Brunswick County is financing the project in order to remove PFAS with the best treatment technology available to do so, however, it has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.

Benefits of the Project

The integration of an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis water treatment equipment to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated materials from drinking water, including GenX, 1,4-dioxane, and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Expanding the conventional treatment facility from 24 million gallons per day to 48 million gallons per day and will provide a low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment capacity of no less than 36 million gallons per day (MGD)

Budget & Funding

Funding Source: Revenue bonds

  • The Series 2020 Enterprise System Revenue Bonds for the Northwest Water Treatment Plan Expansion were issued at $167.3 million. Of this, $158.7 million was for the expansion and low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment and $8.6 million was for the concentrate pipeline.

Project Managers

Project Designer

CDM Smith

Project Contractor

Oscar Renda Construction

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