Public Notice

Public Notice

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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Bolivia, NC – A Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert remains in effect.

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:
  2. Odd address numbers – Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
    b. Even address numbers – Wednesday/Friday/Sunday
    c. No irrigation on Mondays
  3. 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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Brunswick County Receives Update on Water Quality System Improvement Options


Brunswick County received updates about water treatment methods from CDM Smith at Monday night’s meeting, after CDM Smith answered questions during a tour for wholesale customers, media and community partners at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant Monday afternoon.

Engineering consultants from CDM Smith have been operating a pilot test of a low pressure reverse osmosis system (seen here) at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Monday night, they presented preliminary information about this test and water treatment options at the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners meeting.

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.

Monday night’s presentation included preliminary information about water treatment options and their associated budgetary cost information, initial reverse osmosis pilot testing data, and potential treatment targets for unregulated contaminants of concern. CDM Smith’s presentation also includes capital cost estimates for expansion components to bring the treated water capacity from 24 million gallons per day (MGD) to 36 MGD, as well as operation and maintenance costs.

Officials with CDM Smith evaluated ion exchange, reverse osmosis, granular activated carbon, UV-advanced oxidation process and ozone-biofiltration treatment methods, independently and in tandem, for their ability to treat Per- and Poly-flouroalkyl Substances (PFAS) like GenX, as well as other compounds like 1,4-Dioxane, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disruptive compounds (EDCs). The firm recommended low pressure reverse osmosis to the Board of Commissioners, noting that it has the lowest net present worth costs for removing 90 percent or more of the target contaminants.

An example of a membrane used in reverse osmosis filtration.

Since Brunswick County would use reverse osmosis to remove compounds like GenX from water that had already been treated by Brunswick County’s current treatment methods, the County would be able to use a low pressure reverse osmosis system, CDM Smith officials said. A low pressure system would cost less to operate and use less water than the type of reverse osmosis system that would be used to remove solids or salinity from ground water, officials told the Commissioners, as removing that type of substance would require more pressure to push the water through the membranes used in reverse osmosis filtration.

The total capital construction costs for a low pressure reverse osmosis treatment system presented Monday night were $99 million. County officials estimated that the cost would result in a rate increase of $6.21 per month for the typical home, billed monthly for 4,500 gallons – a number which will also be pursued as damages in the County’s legal proceedings against the companies that have discharged emerging or harmful chemicals into the water supply.

Among the data presented Monday night, CDM Smith told the Board of Commissioners that preliminary lab results from samples taken Feb. 26 showed non-detectable levels of GenX, Nafion Byproduct 1 and 2, and all other PFASs in water treated with the Low Pressure Reverse Osmosis pilot unit.

A final report and results from the Reverse Osmosis pilot unit will be presented Apr. 16, and after an option is selected, preliminary design work is expected to start in May, with final design work expected to start in July. Design work should take approximately a year, with construction beginning in the 2019-20 fiscal year and taking approximately 18 months to complete.

Brunswick County’s litigation efforts against DuPont and Chemours continue, as the county seeks to hold those responsible for the discharge of emerging or harmful chemicals into the public drinking water supply accountable and to ensure that the costs for long-term water testing and treatment methods for those chemicals do not fall upon rate payers, but upon those dumping the harmful chemicals in the water.

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.

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