“SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Advanced water treatment options don’t come cheap, and as Wilmington-area utility providers seek solutions to allay customers’ concerns about chemicals — including GenX and other emerging contaminants — in their drinking water, the possibility of water rates rising is on the horizon.

In Brunswick County, as officials mull water projects costing millions of dollars, early estimates show the county’s retail water customers could be faced with paying an additional $6.21 per month for water — an annual increase of roughly $74 — by 2021. Customers in New Hanover County with Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) could potentially be facing a $10 increase on their bimonthly bills by 2019 for the utility provider to upgrade its water treatment system.brunswick

Neither entity has officially moved forward with treatment upgrades, or rate increases, and both hope to eventually receive some sort of financial relief for the improvements from Chemours, the chemical company that operates the Fayetteville Works plant 100 miles upstream from Wilmington and has been dumping — along with DuPont until it spun Chemours off in 2015 — GenX into the Cape Fear since the early 1980s…

A $99 million reverse-osmosis system, along with a long planned $35 million expansion of the Northwest Water Treatment Plant and a roughly $66-million project involving construction of a new 14-mile long raw water main from the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority, where Brunswick purchases its water from, means water rates would likely increase for both retail and wholesale water customers by 2021. Construction of the new raw water main stemmed from a major October 2016 break on the existing water main that resulted in the loss of millions of gallons of water and mandatory water restrictions for customers across the Cape Fear region.”

Read the full article by Mackenzie Holland.