The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Board on Wednesday approved an interlocal agreement (ILA) with Wrightsville Beach to provide water to the Town for three years at CFPUA’s Short-Term Mutual Aid Bulk Water Rate of 65 cents per 1,000 gallons.
Under the agreement, CFPUA will to provide as much as 45 million gallons of water each year to Wrightsville Beach to supplement the Town’s regular groundwater supply. The agreement is only for the provision of water to Wrightsville Beach. The Town must pay for all costs to provide the water to its customers, including permits, infrastructure, meters, and billing. It is CFPUA's understanding from the Town that its customers rates are unlikely to change should it approve the agreement.
Like CFPUA, Wrightsville Beach has PFAS compounds in its water supply. Those PFAS compounds largely are the result of decades of contamination by Chemours and DuPont. CFPUA is providing this short-term mutual aid rate to a neighbor affected by a regional issue.
In January, CFPUA staff met with Wrightsville Beach regarding our concern about migration of PFAS compounds in CFPUA’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery Well to a well where Wrightsville Beach draws groundwater for its water system. Wrightsville Beach took that well offline and subsequent tests confirmed CFPUA’s concerns. The vast majority of PFAS compounds found in the groundwater originate from Chemours: They are identified in Attachment C of the recently approved Consent Order between the company and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
Wrightsville Beach would be unable to meet its water demands during peak season without the well. So, CFPUA worked with the Town to develop this service as an option to provide mutual aid to a regional water utility.
The ILA calls for Wrightsville Beach to take one of three actions at the end of the three-year term:
- Consolidate its system into CFPUA’s within six months of the end of the term. Essentially, all Wrightsville Beach customers would become regular CFPUA customers; OR
- Agree to become a regular bulk water customer of CFPUA for at least five years. The current regular bulk rate is $3.48 per 1,000 gallons.; OR
- Reimburse CFPUA for the difference between the regular bulk rate and the Short-Term Mutual Aid Rate (the difference is $2.83 per 1,000 gallons based on the current bulk rate) for all water obtained under the Short-Term Mutual Aid Bulk Water rate.
The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen is to consider the agreement on Thursday, April 11.