BRUNSWICK COUNTY –In light of the recent detection of GenX and other chemicals in the Cape Fear River, water treatment options will be explored before Brunswick County expands its Northwest Water Treatment Plant, the Wilmington StarNews reported.
The county already planned to expand the Leland-area plant from 24 million gallons per day to 36 million gallons per day. With the chemical GenX discovered in the Cape Fear River, the county also has decided to look at other treatment methodologies because the current treatment processes cannot filter out the substance.
A request for proposals, or RFP, “from qualified engineering, environmental, and water resource firms for the services associated with evaluation of water treatment options at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant” was advertised Nov. 28 on the county’s website.
John Nichols, the county’s director of public utilities, said one of the first steps they will take with the study will be to determine what methodologies are effective and what contaminants are particularly difficult to eradicate. Treatment options to be explored include advanced oxidation, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet and granular activated carbon processes.
He said that he also plans to ask the consultant to consider other unregulated chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency will be looking at during an upcoming study.
Since many of these contaminants are unregulated, or there is no level set by the EPA, Nichols continued, they will ask for help in designing the treatment around.
A draft of treatment options and cost estimates will be presented to commissioners by March 19, 2018, and a final report is expected in April. The proposed plan includes selecting a water treatment method, followed by the plant expansion, scheduled to begin in 2020.