The draft plan was developed in partnership with organizations across Southeastern North Carolina, outlining strategies to protect the lower Cape Fear River from pollution.
The Cape Fear River is the raw water source for much of the drinking water in the Wilmington area. In 2017, it came to light that Chemours Co.’s Fayetteville Works facility was discharging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, into the river upstream of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
The authority announced in 2020 its source water risk and resiliency plan identifying more than 150 potential contaminant sources along 160 miles of the Cape Fear River’s watershed.
The draft source water protection plan expands on the 2020 plan, bringing in regional partners to develop specific strategies and goals to mitigate pollution and details both short- and long-term goals to establish regional resources on source water protection, inventory potential contaminant sources and promote education around source water protection.
If the authority’s plan is approved by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, it would be the first approved in North Carolina’s coastal plain, and the first source water protection plan for a portion of the Cape Fear River.
The utility authority’s draft plan was developed with input from Brunswick County Public Utilities, Pender County Utilities, the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority, the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the city of Wilmington/Heal Our Waterways, New Hanover County Planning and Land Use, Feast Down East, the North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation, the Cape Fear River Assembly, and Cape Fear River Watch.