Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) has received notice from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the organization has successfully satisfied the agency’s requirements under the consent decree. CFPUA has been operating under an EPA consent decree since 2013 due to several sizeable sanitary sewer overflows. These SSOs that prompted the consent decree occurred before 2008 and led to CFPUA’s formation.
As a result, over the past five years, CFPUA has decreased the number of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) by 59%. Additionally, CFPUA reduced the volume of SSOs by 95%. CFPUA achieved this by:
- Monitoring data in the field and acting upon warning signs to prevent SSOs.
- Responding to customer calls reporting suspected SSOs and reacting swiftly to stop the event or begin immediate actions to avert an SSO.
- Addressing more long-term problems, with aging infrastructure and flow restricted areas, through the strategic capital planning processes. Capital process improvements included enhanced data analysis to prioritize projects better and improve the overall operation of the sewer system.
Since CFPUA’s inception, the organization focused efforts on many projects such as increased routine daily line cleaning, improved utility manhole rehabilitation, pump station rehabilitation, gravity system defect analysis, and the improvement of closed-circuit television procedures in monitoring and managing the life of our pipeline infrastructure. These programs are included in the Capacity Management Operations and Maintenance Plan that was submitted and approved by EPA. These documents acted as an initial roadmap to make improvements to the sewer system and meet all Clean Water Act requirements.
Executive Director, Jim Flechtner said, "While satisfying the consent decree is a significant milestone for this organization and the community, the real celebration is the 95% reduction in SSO volumes we have achieved. Staff and the Board have worked together for the past ten years to bring about meaningful system and organizational improvements. This is a great result for our customers and the environment."
CFPUA maintains over 1,000 miles of wastewater infrastructure, and we are proud of the work we have done to rehabilitate our system—work that helps us to protect public health and the environment.
For more information, please read the final report submitted in January 2018.