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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Preliminary results from North Carolina PFAST Network test of Brunswick County water treatment plant now available


Preliminary results from North Carolina PFAST Network test of Brunswick County water treatment plant now available


Bolivia, N.C. – The North Carolina Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Testing (PFAST) Network has released preliminary results from an analysis of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in raw water samples collected from Brunswick County’s drinking water treatment plant May 29, 2019.

Brunswick County is committed to providing all citizens with the most up-to-date, transparent and accurate information about the health and safety of our water supply, as well as developments related to the most effective treatment methods.

“In the best interest of transparency with our residents, we want to provide them the same results and information presented to us from PFAST,” County Manager Ann Hardy said.

A copy of the full preliminary report is available here:

PFAS compounds are not currently regulated as drinking water contaminants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) or the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ), therefore the measurements reported here are not intended to be used in enforcement actions.

The US EPA has established a lifetime health advisory level (HAL) of 70 ppt for combined perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water. In addition, the NC DHHS has established a provisional health goal based on risk assessment for GenX in drinking water of 140 ppt. These advisory levels can serve as reference values when evaluating PFAS concentrations reported below for raw drinking water.

Concentrations of individual PFAS are reported in units of parts-per-trillion (ppt, i.e., nanogram of chemical per liter water). The preliminary results from Brunswick County’s May 29 sample are as follows:

  • The sum of PFOA and PFOS was 19 ppt. This represents 27.1 percent of the EPA health advisory level (HAL) of 70 ppt for PFOA + PFOS.
  • The concentration of GenX was 28.1 ppt. This represents 20.1 percent of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services health goal for GenX.
  • The total PFAS concentration was 395.4 ppt.

Based on these results, the Brunswick County water sample is still below the EPA’s health advisory level for PFOA + PFOS and the State’s DHHS health goal for GenX.

According to PFAST, the initial chemical analysis shows higher levels of PFAS compounds in the Brunswick County water sample compared to typical background PFAS concentrations observed in drinking water sources. The compound PFMOAA is the most present in the May 29 sample, contributing the majority of the total PFAS concentration test result.

At this time, the EPA does not have sufficient information to calculate an established health goal for some PFAS like the PFMOAA compound. The County’s Public Utilities team continues to monitor PFAS like PFMOAA, GenX and more through regular testing.

What We Are Doing to Protect Our Water

Providing safe, reliable and affordable water service to our communities is one of the top priorities for Brunswick County’s Board of Commissioners and administrators. Since 2010, the County’s leaders have worked extensively on upgrading and expanding capacity at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, including the development of a low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment system.

The first phase was completed in 2010, the second phase was completed in 2015, and the third and final phase that will increase treatment capacity is currently in the final design phase.  The discovery of perfluoroalkyl substances in the Cape Fear River in June 2017 led to the incorporation of advanced low pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) system into the design plans. Brunswick County will be able to provide a better quality product that addresses water quality issues in the Cape Fear River both now and in the years to come with the LPRO facility.

“Reverse osmosis is considered the most efficient and effective processes to purify drinking water and treat it for both regulated and unregulated chemicals and other particles present in the water,” Hardy said. “The new purification system is an important step in achieving our goal of consistently staying below the EPA and state’s preferred health levels for PFAS and improve our future results.”

As of August 2019, the design for the treatment plant and new concentrate pipeline is 90 percent complete, which is now enough to begin initiating for permits at the county, state and federal level. Public bidding for the project will take place before the end of this year. Construction is anticipated to begin in January 2020 and take less than three years to complete.

The Board of Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution stating the County’s position to provide potable water and wastewater services to the customers of Brunswick County via advanced water treatment through a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant during a specially called meeting on July 23, 2019.

Moving forward, the North Carolina PFAST Network recommends additional PFAS testing of both the County’s raw water and finished drinking water to further verify these results. Brunswick County’s Public Utilities also routinely tests the County’s system for water quality and the presence of GenX, 1,4 dioxane, PFMOAA and other PFAS chemicals.

More information about the County’s efforts on water testing, the Northwest Water Treatment Plant upgrades and the reverse osmosis system is at


The North Carolina Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Testing (PFAST) Network is a statewide research collaboration to test for current levels of PFAS chemicals in drinking water and air samples across the state.

These initial results have been verified through repeat analysis in the laboratory of Dr. Lee Ferguson at Duke University and through independent testing by Dr. Detlef Knappe at North Carolina State University, but the measurements presented here should be viewed as preliminary.

This analysis was part of a PFAS testing initiative mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly through Session Law (S.L.) 2018-5 (Section 13.1 through I).

What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. The PFAS found in this sample belong to the PFAS compound class called Perfluoroalkylether Acids (PFEAs) which includes GenX and other similar PFAS. More information about PFAS is on the EPA’s website at


For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at (910) 253-2995 or email