Carolina Beach Hears Update On Long-Term Water Supply Study

The Carolina Beach Town Council received an update during their August meeting on a water study focusing on quantity of supply as well as quality. Five out of the last eight years, the Town's water system has exceeded it's twelve hour well pumping capacity for a short time during the peak summer months. The Carolina Beach Town Council received an update during their August meeting on a water study focusing on quantity of supply as well as quality. Five out of the last eight years, the Town's water system has exceeded it's twelve hour well pumping capacity for a short time during the peak summer months.

Carolina Beach Hears Update On Long-Term Water Supply Study Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 02 September 2020 19:04

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council received an update on a water study focusing on quantity of supply as well as quality. Five out of the last eight years, the Town's water system has exceeded it's twelve hour well pumping capacity for a short time during the peak summer months.

Carolina Beach, like other coastal tourism destinations, serves a much smaller year-round population of customers but has to have capacity to meet the needs of the influx of tourists to hotels and rentals during the summer.

Adam P. Kiker, P.E. of Aberdeen, NC based LKC Engineering, PLLC explained the Town based on a 12‐hour pumping rate, the total available system capacity for Carolina Beach is 1,965,600 gallons per day. As of July 2020, the Town pumped 2,068,000 gallons in one twelve hour period.

The study recommends increasing pumping capacity and improving water quality to address slow degradation of raw water quality from the Town's well sites.

Kiker explained, "The report addresses a longer term water quality challenge that we have seen and your staff has seen in your wells. Other communities up and down the coast have seen it also. So incorporating infrastructure that will allow you to plan for those expected changes is part of the study also."

He  explained that some years pumping capacity exceeded the system capacity at least one day, sometimes more than one day.

Kiker said, "Doing it once or twice is not a problem, not an emergency or something that is urgent, however, as these numbers become more regular and you start stressing the aquifer on a more regular basis, that's what we are trying to avoid."

The anticipated 30‐year projected necessary peak day supply based on forecasted population growth through 2050 is approximately 3.24 million gallons per day (mgd.)

 As the water system pumps more water from the underground aquifer for extended periods of time as demand increases, it came over burden that aquifer and create a situation in coastal towns where salt water intrudes into the fresh water supply requiring additional methods of treatment. The issue enters around the amount of water removed from the aquifer verses how long it takes for the aquifer to recharge itself based on annual rainfall and how long it takes for that water to filter through the ground hundreds of feet into the Castle Hayne Aquifer from which the Town's wells draw their water.

Kiker said some recommendations within the study include using membrane systems to filter the water of high chlorides (salt) as demand increases in the future.

New wells require a 100-foot radius from surrounding properties and due to the density of development in Carolina Beach, vacant land that meets that criteria is almost impossible to find.

Kiker said one option is to buffer those peak days when demand is high by increasing the Town's water storage capaity. Currenty the Town has a storage capcity of two million gallons. Two 500,000 gallon water towers and a one million gallon ground level storage tank located on Cape Fear Blvd.

Three options were presented in the study. The first calls for adding a third filter unit at the Alabama Avenue water treatment plant and constructing new 1.0 million gallon clearwell and high service pump station near the waste water treatment plant off Dow Road. That would occur within five years at a cost of $7,735,000 and add 0.50 (mgd) of capacity.
The second phase, to occur before 2028, is to construct a 1.0 (mgd) membrane water treatment plant near the waste water treatment plant planned for 3.5 (mgd) future expansion capacity. That would add a capacity of 0.875 (mgd) at a projected cost of $14,553,000.

The third phase would call for constructing new raw water lines to redirect existing wells to a new treatment unit, and add membrane treatment equipment. That would bring capacity up to 3.5 (mgd) beyond the year 2030 at a cost that is yet to be determined.

The Council discussed the reluctance of raising utility ratess over the next five years following recent annual rate increases due to selling bonds in recent years driving up those utility rates.

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