Construction complete for new filters at water treatment plant in Wilmington

Construction complete for new filters are water treatment plant in Wilmington
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 6:09 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -Nearly 80% of customers with Cape Fear Public Utility Authority have clean drinking water thanks to new filters at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant in Wilmington.

“It is our response to the PFAS crisis that unfolded in this community,” Ken Waldroup, Executive Director for CFPUA, said.

Waldroup said they’re still pushing for Chemours—who is responsible for the water contamination—to foot the 43-million-dollar bill for this new facility.

“We continue to engage our neighbors Chemours, unfortunately, in court right now, asking them to become accountable for this pollution and the solutions that we have created. We hope that they will live up to their corporate values and will step forward and make restitution to their downstream members,” Waldroup added. “This entire facility that we’re cutting the ribbon on today is in place as a response to the pollution of our Upstream neighbor, Chemours, the facility costs $43 million just in construction, and anywhere from three to $5 million a year in reoccurring operation costs, it’s led to our most recent rate increase, and a program rate increase for the coming year. 70% of those rate increases are attributable to the Chemours PFAS pollution.”

That means rate payers will foot the bill for now.

But Waldroup said taking action has led to another positive besides clean water.

“This is a this is a case where the local community and its leadership decided to decisively solve a problem and not wait on the state and not wait on the federal government. And now the rest of the nation is catching up to this issue. And looking to us for solutions.

New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple said the solution they have now should serve generations for years to come.

“None of us can go without water. And then just take that, you know, incredibly valuable resource and know that it’s contaminated and know that you’re representing, in my case 237,000 people in New Hanover County, it’s something that weighs on me literally every day. What are we doing? How can we fix this? What resources can we bring there to do it? And I think we’ve done a pretty good job took a little bit longer than we wanted. We’re here now. I feel really good about that,” Zapple said. “Now we will continue the work of going out after Chemours and DuPont to have them pay what they should pay all along. It’s horrible that they put that contamination in there. But it is their responsibility to pay for it so we can filter it out.”

These filters have been up and running since October of 2022.