Water Treatment

Drinking Water Guidelines

Water distributed by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is constantly measured against safety standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the North Carolina Division of Environmental Health and Natural Resources (NCDEHNR). These standards specify that the drinking water must be analyzed for contaminants and substances such as:
  • Bacteria
  • Fertilizer
  • Fuels
  • Lead
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
The Authority’s water consistently meets or exceeds all of these safeguards and is outlined in our Annual Water Quality Report (also known as a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR). Water Quality Reports are compiled and made available to our customers by June 1 of each year and are posted on this website.

Water Sources and Treatment

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s Water Treatment Division processes and distributes approximately 16 million gallons of drinking water every day to homes and businesses throughout New Hanover County. There are 3 basic parts to the water supply system:

Sources of Water

There are 2 sources of water utilized to serve our customers:
  • Cape Fear River (surface water)
  • Underground aquifers (groundwater)

Water Systems

Water treatment transforms raw surface and groundwater into safe drinking water by removing impurities. Treated water is then distributed to homes and businesses throughout our service area through 4 different water systems.

CFPUA/City (PWS #04-65-010)

The largest system, CFPUA/City (PWS #04-65-010), distributes water within the City of Wilmington city limits, parts of the Ogden area, parts of Monkey Junction, King’s Grant and Flemington/421 Corridor. The Sweeney Water Treatment Plant supplies water to this system using surface water drawn from the Cape Fear River. The Sweeney Water Treatment Plant is a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates the latest, most innovative water treatment technologies including the use of ozone and UV for disinfection purposes. An upgraded residuals system (the system that treats discarded water), filters, SuperPulsator treatment trains and a high service pump station allow the plant to treat and pump water to our distribution system. This newly renovated and expanded facility has the capacity to treat up to 35 million gallons of water per day. For more information, see Sweeney WTP’s Treatment Process

CFPUA/NHC (PWS #04-65-232)

The next largest system, CFPUA/NHC (PWS #04-65-232), distributes water to portions of the northern part of New Hanover County including Murrayville, Wrightsboro, Porters Neck, and parts of Castle Hayne and Ogden areas. The Michael E. Richardson Water Treatment Plant supplies groundwater to this system via wells which draw from the Castle Hayne and Pee Dee Aquifers. Treated water from the two sources is blended before leaving the plant and entering the distribution system. This plant contains state-of-the-art membrane technology which is recognized as one of the best available technologies for removing organic material in the water and is effective in reducing the formation of disinfection byproducts. The treated water has less hardness which eliminates the need for softening. An inline fluoride analyzer installed in the finished water line continuously monitors fluoride feed dosages. The Richardson Plant has the capability of treating up to 6 million gallons of groundwater per day.

CFPUA also operates a smaller groundwater system in the southern part of New Hanover County. The CFPUA/Monterey Heights system (PWS #04-65-191) distributes water in Monterey Heights, Woodlake, Laurel Ridge, South Myrtle Grove, Sentry Oaks, Deer Crossing, Lord’s Creek and Veteran’s Park area.  The Monterey Heights system provides treated groundwater from wells that draw water from the Castle Hayne and surficial aquifers.  


The water treatment division operates and maintains:
11 elevated water tanks
2 water treatment plants
3 booster pump stations
54 well sites
A raw water pump station
Aquifer storage recovery system

A staff of highly trained, state certified water treatment operators, a team of skilled maintenance technicians and knowledgeable administration staff keep all these facilities fully operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to ensure a safe, high quality, reliable drinking water source.

Plant Tours Available

We welcome school groups and organizations to tour either of our 2 water treatment facilities. Learn more about where your water comes from, how it’s treated and is delivered to homes and businesses within our community. Tours are age appropriate and offer an exciting behind-the-scenes look at the treatment process. Tours must be requested and scheduled in advance. Complete our Facility Tour Request and upload it here or call our offices at 910-332-6579.

Fluoride Research & Information