LELAND—Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state with a growth of 23,466 new residents in only seven years. This population increase has taken a toll on public utilities and infrastructure, from increased traffic on roads to an increased amount of sewage to be processed by wastewater facilities.
That is why Brunswick County, along with several other local municipalities, are working to expand wastewater treatment facilities in Northeast Brunswick County.
Brunswick County currently owns and operates the Northeast Brunswick Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility which can treat up to 2.475 million gallons-per-day, but now, thanks to the growth in the region the time has come to expand facilities.
According to Leland’s Assistant Town Manager Neil Brooks, “The expansion of the plant is a Brunswick County project, of which the Town of Leland would be a participant along with the other system partners in Northern Brunswick County. By working with the County and other partners, we are able to plan appropriately now for the future growth of Leland and northern Brunswick County.”
In 2016 a study was conducted to help understand just what kind of infrastructure improvements need to happen before the plant exceeds its capacity.
In 2016 the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brunswick County was operating at 76-percent capacity on average.
“The engineering report found that in 2016 the Northeast Plant rated at 76-percent capacity for its average annual day, with its peak month flow exceeding 90-percent,” according to documents provided to Leland Town Council. “Based on engineering analysis of historical growth rates, the Northeast Plant would exceed its rated capacity based on the average annual day with peaking factor in 2021. However, due to growth rates in excess of historical values and permit requirements that necessitate meeting hydraulic and contaminant limits on a monthly basis, permit infractions could occur sooner.”
In an effort to prevent the overcapacity issues, Brunswick County has established a plan to increase capacity for the region by 2.5 million additional gallons-per-day, but reaching this point isn’t cheap.
The project is expected to cost $39 million, but thanks to the interlocal agreement, the cost would be shared among several participants: Brunswick County, The Town of Leland, The Town of Navassa, The City of Northwest, and H2GO Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer.
On Thursday Leland Town Council will decide on entering into an agreement with Brunswick County to help fund the project. Leland would be responsible for $12.67 million of the total $39.1 million and would gain an increased capacity of 0.81 million gallons-per-day.
According to town documents, the county is planning on issuing a 20-year revenue bond to fund the project, once the debt is issued the town would then be provided with a payment schedule.