Public Notice

Public Notice

UPDATE – Stage 1 – Water Conservation Alert – UPDATE

Bolivia, NC – A Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert remains in effect. Drought conditions are expected to continue for the foreseeable weather forecast and water demands are increasing as we approach the 4th of July holiday. Demand for water over this past weekend (June 29th-30th) exceeded 90% of the available production and distribution capacity. However, your conservation has had an impact on overall usage.

All customers of a public water system anywhere in Brunswick County are affected by Water Conservation Alerts. Brunswick County Public Utilities provides water service in unincorporated portions of Brunswick County as well as the following communities: Boiling Spring Lakes, Bolivia, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Caswell Beach, Sandy Creek, St. James, Sunset Beach, and Varnamtown. Customers of other utilities such as Bald Head Island, Brunswick Regional – H2GO (Belville), Holden Beach, Leland, Navassa, Northwest, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Shallotte, and Southport are under the same restrictions since these utilities receive their water from Brunswick County Public Utilities.

Under a Stage 1 Water Alert, water system customers are requested to make voluntary adjustments to their water usage habits to appreciably reduce peak demands. (A peak demand of 80% of system production and distribution capacity being targeted). Irrigation demands represent the bulk of non-essential water use, so a primary way that customers may reduce water usage is to limit irrigation. A unified application of voluntary water reductions by all water system users in Brunswick County may help to avoid mandatory water restrictions in the event drought conditions do not lessen.

Specific ways to reduce water usage are as follows:

1. Use the following recommended irrigation schedule to even out system demands:

a. Odd address numbers – Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
b. Even address numbers – Wednesday/Friday/Sunday
c. No irrigation on Mondays

2. Defer all non-essential water use to outside the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
3. Don’t overwater your yard. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most types of grass healthy. To determine how long you need to run your sprinkler to provide 1” of water, place straight edged cans at different distances from your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1” of water in each can. Water occasionally, but deeply to encourage deeper rooting that makes grass more drought/heat tolerant.
4. Install rain shut-off devices on automatic sprinkler systems.
5. Don’t water pavement and impervious surfaces.
6. Limit lawn watering to that necessary for plant survival. Water lawns outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
7. Water shrubbery the minimum required. Water shrubbery outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Use drip irrigation systems in shrubbery beds and around trees to prevent water loss through evaporation.
8. Use abundant mulch around trees and shrubs to retain moisture.
9. Plant drought-tolerant grasses, trees, and plants.
10. Adjust mower height to a higher setting to retain moisture.
11. Limit the use of clothes washers and dishwashers and when used, operate fully loaded. Operate dishwashers outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
12. Limit vehicle washing to a minimum. Use commercial car washes that recycle water.
13. Use shower for bathing rather than bathtub and limit shower to no more than five (5) minutes.
14. Inspect and repair all faulty and defective parts of faucets and toilets. Pay attention to dripping sounds.
15. Do not leave faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth, rinsing or preparing food.
16. Do not wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, etc.
17. Install water-saving showerheads and other water conservation devices.
18. Install water-saving devices in toilets such as early closing flappers.
19. Limit hours of water-cooled air conditioners.
20. Keep drinking water in a container in the refrigerator instead of running water from a faucet until it is cool.
21. Do not fill new (or empty) swimming or wading pools. Top off existing swimming pools from dusk until dawn.
22. Cover pool and spas when not in use to prevent evaporation.
23. Use disposable and biodegradable dishes where possible.

Please note that this Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert does not affect the use of private groundwater wells or those using highly treated reclaimed wastewater. (St. James, Winding River, Sea Trail, and Sandpiper Bay golf courses use reclaimed water. Other golf courses use wells and ponds for irrigation.) Also, this is not a water quality advisory; this is a water conservation advisory. There is no need to boil water for potable use unless you receive a Low Pressure Advisory notice for your specific area due to other conditions in the water distribution system.

Residents will be notified if any other conservation measures are needed and when conditions dictate that restrictions are no longer required. Residents who have questions should contact their water service provider directly or Brunswick County Public Utilities at 910-253-2657. Additional information can be found at <>

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UPDATE – Stage 1 – Water Conservation Alert – UPDATE

UPDATE – Stage 1 – Water Conservation Alert – UPDATE

Bolivia, NC – A Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert remains in effect. Based on the ongoing hot weather that tends to elevate water demand, this Water Conservation Alert will remain in effect through the month of July and into August when it will be re-evaluated.

Please continue to use water wisely; your water conservation is having a positive impact.

Residents who have questions should contact their water service provider directly or Brunswick County Public Utilities at 910-253-2657. Additional information can be found at <>.

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Brunswick County Commissioners Vote to Immediately Construct RO Plant


Brunswick County’s Commissioners voted unanimously to approve construction of a low-pressure reverse osmosis plant at the Board’s budget workshop Thursday, moving forward with providing a forward-thinking, long-term water quality solution for all customers that receive water from Brunswick County.

On April 16, the Board received a report from CDM Smith, the firm hired to research and review data, conduct pilot tests and consult with experts regarding advanced water treatment methods and the presence of chemicals in the Cape Fear River, from which Brunswick County draws water. CDM Smith recommended low-pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) as the most efficient and cost effective advanced water treatment addition to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant.

After hearing the recommendation made Apr. 16, the Commissioners and County staff extensively reviewed CDM Smith’s report and findings, along with information about the effectiveness and cost of other treatment methods. After reviewing and researching, County staff also recommended LPRO, and the Board of Commissioners voted May 10 to move forward with implementation of LPRO as the most cost effective long-term solution for Brunswick County water treatment.

The report from CDM Smith showed that the pilot LPRO system set up at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant removed 45 PFAS compounds to as close to non-detectable limits as possible. In one round of testing, all 45 PFAS compounds were removed to non-detectable levels; in a second round of testing, 44 of 45 PFAS compounds were removed to non-detectable levels. In the testing results, the total sum of 45 perflourinated chemicals was 11 nanograms per liter. All but one of the perflourinated chemicals were not detected in the treated water using the best technology currently available, representatives from CDM Smith told the Commissioners.

Testing was completed to determine the presence and amount of more than 45 compounds, including GenX, Nafion Byproduct 1 and Nafion Byproduct 2, Perflourooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), Perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA), 1,4-Dioxane and PFMOAA in the water before and after treatment by the LPRO unit. The testing results also showed a 94-percent removal of 1,4-Dioxane, taking it from 3.2 µg/L before the LPRO treatment to 0.2 µg/L after treatment. Other substances, including the insect repellant DEET, the herbicide Atrazine, and the seizure medicine Carbamazepine were not detected in the LPRO-treated water.

In recommending LPRO, CDM Smith noted that its operational and maintenance costs are less than other methods that would require frequent changing of filtration material, and that using LPRO after the County’s current filtration methods would cost less than a higher-pressure system that would be needed to treat brackish groundwater.

Implementation of LPRO is estimated to cost approximately $99 million, with additional operations and maintenance costs of approximately $2.9 million per year.

“The net present worth, the life cycle cost if you will, of reverse osmosis is almost half of the other [treatment methods and method combinations considered],” Bill Dowbiggin, Senior Vice President and Senior Environmental Engineer with CDM Smith, told the Commissioners in April.

Preliminary design work has begun, with final design work expected to begin in September. The application process for NCDEQ to modify the County’s existing discharge permit began in February, and has proceeded with no “red flags” from regulators. Bidding and construction of the project is expected to begin in June of 2019.

Brunswick County had previously planned to expand the capacity of the Northwest Water Treatment Plant to meet the demand of its customers, prior to the discovery of GenX in the Cape Fear River. These expansion plans remain in place, and the proposal for LPRO includes plans to accommodate that increase in capacity.

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.

Brunswick County has also evaluated treatment options that are effective on a number of chemicals found in the Cape Fear River, including some only recently discovered. In considering these options, as well as the potential for new chemical discoveries or regulatory changes in years to come, Brunswick County is ensuring that the treatment method selected will provide a long-term solution for the needs of all customers who receive water from Brunswick County or one of its wholesale customers, now and in years to come.

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