NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — CFPUA’s Richardson Water Treatment Plant can now treat and distribute an additional 1 million gallons of water per day (MGD), keeping pace with growth in Northern New Hanover County.
Richardson is CFPUA’s second-largest water treatment plant, serving nearly 30,000 customers in Murrayville, Northchase, Porters Neck, and parts of Castle Hayne and Ogden.
On May 5, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality approved CFPUA’s request to increase the Richardson Plant’s capacity from 6 MGD to 7 MGD. The higher capacity was made possible by a recently completed project to replace water filter membranes at the plant, which sources groundwater from wells in the Castle Hayne and Pee Dee aquifers.
Between March and October 2020, crews at Richardson replaced 900 semi-permeable membranes, used to purify groundwater into drinking water. The membrane technology, in use since 2009, was upgraded from nanofiltration to low-pressure reverse osmosis.
Crews also added six new membrane housing vessels containing 36 additional membranes at the plant. This addition allowed CFPUA to cost-effectively increase Richardson’s capacity within the existing facility footprint. The total project cost was $1.05 million.
The increased capacity will help the Richardson water system meet peak seasonal demands.
“CFPUA’s staff and our contractor, M.B. Kahn Construction Co. Inc., worked hard to bring this project in on-schedule and on-budget, and in the midst of a pandemic,” CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner said.
“This project allows our Richardson water system to stay ahead of growth in Northern New Hanover County, where we’ve seen a steady increase in water demand. Staff continues to plan for a separate Richardson Water Treatment Plant and wellfield expansion project that will allow CFPUA to meet demand in this area for years to come.”
The Richardson expansion is one of several projects, either planned or underway, that will increase the capacity of CFPUA’s water systems. The addition of deep-bed Granular Activated Carbon filters at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant and the new Kings Bluff raw water line – both scheduled for substantial completion in early 2022 – will boost Sweeney’s treatment capacity from 35 MGD to 44 MGD.
An additional upgrade at Richardson, scheduled to begin construction later this year, will further increase the plant’s capacity to 9 MGD. In June 2021, CFPUA will bring two new wells online in the Monterey Heights groundwater system, which is currently permitted for 1.02 MGD and serves areas including Monterey Heights, Woodlake, Laurel Ridge, Sentry Oaks, and Veterans Park.
Combined, these projects will raise CFPUA’s total water treatment capacity from 42 MGD to just over 54 MGD in the coming years.