Drilling of water, sewer lines under Cape Fear River to begin Tuesday

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Crews with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) will begin drilling under the Cape Fear River on Tuesday to extend water and sewer lines to the U.S. 421 corridor.

The project will be the first to connect the Flemington community to CFPUA’s central sewer systems, according to Mike McGill, CFPUA’s chief communications officer. Over the next eight weeks, Hall Construction Corp. will drill through dense sands under the river and install 1,250 feet of 12-inch water main and 1,500 feet of two 8-inch sewer mains.

Drill depths will vary, but are–at the deepest point–72 to 80 feet below the high water level of the river, McGill said.

“The water portion of the construction project is based upon an agreement reached between CFPUA and Duke Energy in October 2013, while the sewer portion is based upon an agreement among CFPUA, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington,” McGill said. “For the water project, Duke Energy is contributing a total of $3.175 million, with CFPUA allocating an additional $460,000.”

The agreement with Duke Energy was made after its monitoring program showed groundwater within its ash impoundment compliance boundary had elevated levels of certain biological components. Based on that data and guidance from CFPUA’s groundwater experts, Duke Energy and the CFPUA reached the agreement.

“It’s important to note there is no current health risk to CFPUA’s customers currently served by Flemington’s drinking water wells,” McGill said. “Monitoring data continues to show the wells remain in compliance with federal and state drinking water regulations and the construction project will be completed long before any projected groundwater impacts.”

CFPUA’s master plan includes a large-diameter water line for the U.S. 421 corridor and determined the construction of sewer lines at the same time would be cost-effective and achieve master plan objectives.

“As a result, agreements were reached with New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington to construct two 8-inch sewer lines underneath the Cape Fear River,” he said. “CFPUA and New Hanover County will split the sewer project’s $1.2 million cost, while the city of Wilmington will provide the use of essential city land for construction and maintenance of the lines.”