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Carolina Beach Council Says Not In Favor Of Connecting To CFPUA

The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed October 9th, they are not in favor of connecting to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for water service in the future.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed October 9th, they are not in favor of connecting to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for water service in the future.
In November of 2011, the previous Town Council voted to fund a study to consider multiple scenarios for meeting the Town's water supply needs in the future.
Some of the options include buying additional water from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA), pumping water into the ground for storage, reverse osmosis, and relying entirely on CFPUA for water service. Town Manager Tim Owens explained to the council in 2011 the Town has completed a number of studies over the years to determine the feasibility of providing water in the amount of 3.5 million gallons per day to customers for a future build out scenario. Meaning, when almost all properties have been developed in Town.
At the Council's October 9th, 2012 meeting Council member Sarah Friede took issue with a budget transfer request for the appropriation of $27,550 to study the feasibility of connecting to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
She explained, "Seems like a lot of money and I have never heard one good thing about the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. I don't imagine any circumstances which I would really be likely to vote in favor of connecting to Cape Fear. I would like to see that money stay in the budget" and used for something else.
Town Manager Tim Owens said, "That money has basically been spent. It was part of a study approved by Council to basically explore the feasibility of going to Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA). We already studied the feasibility of staying on the island."
Owens said, "We needed those two elements to decide what was most efficient and effective for the community. That study is wrapping up" and he's planning to schedule a workshop with Council and the Town's engineering firm to go over the findings of that study in November.
Owens said the study is 90% complete and should be ready by that time.
The funds were allocated in last year's budget and the request is to carry over those funds to this year's budget to pay the remaining invoice. Approximately $1,400 was spent in last year's budget.
Owens said, "There are a number of items they are still trying to finalize, mainly water loss and looking at that issue."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "Here's what I'm hearing Tim. There's a majority on this Council that has no interest in moving forward with Cape Fear and really doesn't want to hear about the study. Now if there are parts of the study that allocate towards our capital improvement plan, then let's do it. But to finish the study on whether or not we are going to continue to connect with Cape Fear is a pretty slim bet. How much of that work can we not have to do?"
Owens said, "We've done all of that work. We needed to look at that. It may be a cheaper bet and a more effective bet."
Local resident George Connett said, "I'm a little concerned because I've been hearing lately about Cape Fear... why are we even talking to them. Why don't we keep our facilities right here? Why do we want to bring somebody else in? Why are we spending this money? There are some studies out there... and there are a few people on Council that know about it, and there have been some test meters laying around here that nobody seems to know what's going on."
He said, "I'm totally against tying up to Cape Fear coming in and taking our business. I think we ought to keep it in Town and keep it ourselves and wrap ourselves around what we've got. Now
if we run out of water 15 years from now, let's go talk to them but as long as we can produce our water and sewer we don't need them."
Shuttleworth said the previous Council approved the study and Cape Fear agreed to pay some of the cost for the study. He said the study is done under a contract.
Friede said, "Obviously we can't default on the invoice."
Shuttleworth said nothing in the study commits the Town to tying into the CFPUA.
The study approved by the Council in 2011 is being conducted by Engineering Services at a cost of $29,000 paid for out of the water and sewer reserve fund. The scenarios to be considered are:
1. Produce all water using resources in the Town through ASR (Aquifer Storage and Recovery), new wells and R/O (Reverse Osmosis) to meet future build-out demands estimated at around 3.5 million gallons per day.
2. Purchase 500,000 gallons per day from CFPUA and use ASR wells to store some of that water.
3. Purchase a larger quantity of water from CFPUA and blend that water with the Town's current system to meet future demands.
4. Purchase all of the Town's water from CFPUA to meet future demands.
The study will look at which option will have the highest quality water at the most feasible cost and determine what future rates would be under different scenarios. Also, what are the pros and cons of each scenario? Owens said in 2011 the Town estimated they had a water loss of 40%. That will also be examined.
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has experienced controversy since the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County combined their water and sewer services under the new authority several years ago.
Billing errors, rate increases and other issues have presented public relations issues for the authority.
If the Town connected to CFPUA, a water line would have to be extended south on Highway 421 and across Snow's Cut Bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway to service Carolina Beach.
The Town currently draws their water from numerous wells located throughout Town.