Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant Replacement

CFPUA is preparing to launch the biggest capital project in the organization’s history: replacement and expansion of the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Replacing the Southside Plant is necessary to continue meeting our community’s wastewater treatment needs, accommodate future growth, and protect our local environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Southside Plant?

The Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on River Road just north of Independence Boulevard, is one of two wastewater plants operated by CFPUA, along with the Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant across from Wilmington International Airport.

Southside is permitted to treat up to 12 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater. The plant receives wastewater from much of the City of Wilmington and southern parts of unincorporated New Hanover County.

The Southside Plant opened in 1972 and has undergone numerous upgrades and expansions over the past five decades.SWWTPAerial

Why does Southside need replacing? 

At 51 years old, much of the Southside Plant’s infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life.

The project will replace the existing facility with new infrastructure and more modern treatment technology. The project also will expand Southside’s treatment capacity from 12 MGD to 16 MGD. This capacity increase is needed to meet future demand as CFPUA’s customer base continues to grow.

The wastewater treatment demand in southern New Hanover County has been approaching Southside’s capacity under peak conditions. For several years, CFPUA has diverted a portion of the flow from Southside to our larger Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant. Returning that flow to an expanded Southside Plant will allow the Northside Plant to accommodate growth in northern New Hanover County.

How much will the project cost, and will it affect my CFPUA bill? 

Construction is estimated to cost $239 million, with engineering costs estimated at an additional $7.3 million.

Under the rate schedule in CFPUA’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the average residential customer’s monthly bill for combined water and sewer services will increase by $3.19, or 4.6 percent, for services delivered beginning July 1, 2023. That increase is driven mainly by costs associated with the Southside Plant replacement.

What is the project timeline? 

Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2024 or early 2025.

The project is expected to be completed before 2030.

How will the community benefit from the project? 

While both CFPUA wastewater plants continue to meet all stateWastewater Southside and federal standards, new and upgraded technologies will allow the plant to remove even more contaminants from wastewater.

The replacement project will include treatment upgrades that will decrease ammonia, nitrogen, and other contaminants in treated effluent from the plant.

Importantly, this upgrade will ensure the Southside Plant continues to meet our community’s long-term wastewater treatment demands. The replacement will also significantly decrease the risk of equipment failure and protect our environment from potentially harmful sanitary sewer overflows.

How will wastewater be handled while construction is underway? 

The existing Southside Plant will continue operating throughout the construction process. The new plant will be built within the existing Southside property.

CFPUA sewer services are not expected to be impacted during the replacement project.