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Aquifer-Sourced Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant Progress


ON TRACK FOR CLEAN, CONTAMINANT FREE DRINKING WATER JANUARY 2023!

NO RATE INCREASE!





SOURCE TO STREAM - JANUARY 2023!


This page will be frequently updated as the project progresses. Please continue to check back for updates.  

Pumps, Motors, and Well-Site Electric Gear

Receipt of well pumps and electric gear for well sites #4 and #5 was critical for H2GO and contractor to commit to a completion and start-up schedule for the RO water treatment system.
Received additional well pumps and motors for well sites #2 thru #5 - Completed 11/11/2022
Received well-pump electrical gear for well sites #4 and #5 - Completed 11/11/2022
Expect to receive high-pressure feed pump for RO train #3 - December 5th – 9th, 2022
Expect to receive final electrical components for well-sites #2 and #3 - December 5th – 9th, 2022
Well-sites #2 and #3 and feed pump for RO train #3 necessary to expand RO process from 4.0 million gallons per day (MGD) to 6.0 MGD capacity.  H2GO’s objective is to complete, certify and operate the RO process at 4.0 MGD as soon as possible.

Install Well-Pumps and Well-Site Electric Gear

Currently installing well pumps, piping, and electrical gear at well site #4. - October thru December 2022
Currently installing well pumps, piping, and electrical gear at well site #5. - Completed 11/11/2022

Complete Electrical Wiring

Well-site #5 - Completed 11/11/2022
Well-site #4 - December 5th – 9th, 2022

 

Equipment Start-Up

Well-site #1 started - Completed 11/11/2022  (well-site #1 was key to begin equipment and RO process check-out/start-up)
Chemical-feed equipment testing (corrosion inhibitor, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite) - Completed 11/11/2022
Install pre-treatment cartridge filters - Completed 11/11/2022
Check-out and start-up pre-treatment scale inhibitor system - Completed 11/11/2022
Mechanical check-out RO trains #1 and #2 - Completed 11/11/2022
Well-site #5 start-up - Completed 11/18/2022
Carbon dioxide system check-out and start-up – Completed 11/18/2022
Well-site #4 start-up - December 15th – 16th, 2022
Calcite system start-up -  December 12th – 16th, 2022
Disinfect ground-storage tanks - December 12th – 16th, 2022
Start-up high-service pumps - December 19th – 22nd, 2022

 

VERIFICATION PROCESS OF INTEGRATION

Test and start-up instrumentation and control integration for RO trains #1 and #2 - November 28th - December 2nd, 2022

OPERATIONAL TESTING
Disinfect and flush RO trains #1 and #2 -  Completed 11/23/2022
Orifice testing RO trains #1 and #2 rom well-site #1 - November 28th - December 2nd, 2022
Install RO membranes in trains #1 and #2 - December 5th - 9th, 2022
24-hour process testing of RO trains #1 and #2 – December 12th – December 14th, 2022  

DEVELOPMENT OF STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPs), INCLUDING SAMPLING AND TESTING PROTOCOLS 
November 7th – December 30th, 2022

Operational Process Testing

Performance testing of RO process with pre- and post-treatment processes - December 16th - 30th, 2022

State Certification

4.0 million gallon per day (MGD) Certification to NCDEQ Public Water Supply Section –  January 2023

NEW YEAR, NEW WATER - January 2023


CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WATER TREATMENT PROCESSES !



Questions/Comments & Factual Answers
 

Comment: "R.O. Water is great, but they will be sending clean water through sludgy water pipes."
This is a false statement.
As required by the EPA, water treatment plant(s) that use chloramines as the primary disinfectant, switch from chloramines to free chlorine annually for roughly 45 days, which is affective in removal of organic residuals in the pipes.
H2GO will begin a robust flushing of the water distribution system in January and February 2023.  The flushing program is designed to remove sediments, organic residue, and biofilm from the pipes, ensuring that reverse osmosis (RO) water reaches our customers in the highest quality.  
H2GO will also pull water samples from the distribution system in November and December this year and test for a host of PFAS contaminants as a baseline before distribution of RO water.  After the RO plant is operational and flushing of the water pipes is complete, H2GO will again pull water samples from the distribution system in January thru April 2023 to determine effectiveness of flushing to remove residual PFAS contaminants from the pipes.
It is important to note that the Aquifer-Sourced Reverse Osmosis Treatment plant will use sodium hypochlorite in the water treatment process year-round. Chloramines will not be used.  


Question: When will the water be safe to drink?
H2GO expects lab results from samples to be pulled in January of 2023 (after robust flush) to come back within about one week with non-detect levels of PFAS contaminants. H2GO will make those results available to the public.

Question:
Will there be enough water to meet area growth demands?

Have no doubt, H2GO has already begun planning for the future.
The current average daily water consumption for the District is 3.0 million gallons a day (MGD). Total processing capability of the new facility is nearly 6 MGD.
H2GO has identified 3 well sites for future raw water supplies and received state approval for those site locations. A future expansion would include an additional RO train to expand capacity to 8 MGD, and then add membrane vessels to all RO trains for a total build-out capacity of 9 MGD.


Question:
Will we still taste the elevated chlorine taste that occurs each year for roughly 45 days as mandated by the state with the switch from chloramines to free chlorine for the annual flush?

No. The H2GO Reverse Osmosis will not use chloramines. This treatment facility will use sodium hypochlorite as the disinfectant with free chlorine at much lower levels currently experienced during the annual flush. Once H2GO disconnects from Brunswick County Public Utilities lines, the annual switch from chloramines to free chlorine and back will not be an annual occurrence.

Question:
Is H2GO doing anything different to address industrial contaminants than other local water treatment facilities?

Yes. H2GO has found a new brackish water source from aquifers. The water is free of man-made contaminants, including PFAS. H2GO will be the only provider of aquifer sourced brackish water in the Lower Cape Fear Region.

Question: What is H2GO doing to provide for a better quality of life for the community?
Once the RO Plant is fully operational, H2GO will be providing all existing community pools a one-time opportunity to refill with clean, contaminant free water at a significantly reduced rate of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons.
This only applies to existing community pools of greater than 6000 gallons volume and comply with H2GO’s Pool Policy.

Question:  How much will it cost to operate the RO plant?
Operation of the RO plant will cost $1.5M annually.

September 2022 Progress Video



May 2022 Progress Video



March 2022 Progress Video



February 2022:



February 24, 2022:
The metal roof is installed over the main building and masonry work continues.


February 9, 2022:

The remaining calcite tanks were delivered to the project site and setup.


February 2, 2022:

Contractors began installing the metal roof on the plant.



January 2022:



January 5, 2022:

Contractors began pouring the foundation for the calcite building.


January 5, 2022:

Contractors installed the truss on the building



December 2021:


December 20, 2021:

They delivered one of three calcite storage tanks to the project site.



December 17, 2021:

They made more progress on exterior masonry work.


December 10, 2021:
Interior and exterior masonry work began for the walls. They set the piers for the calcite beds.


November 2021:



November 19, 2021:



November 10, 2021:

​Steel beams for the walls of the plant's building were erected.


November 5, 2021:
Ground storage tanks were painted.


October 29, 2021:

H2GO held a progress tour for their media partners.

October 2021:



August 2021:

Crews completed the concentrate line. The raw water lines and the finished water lines are under construction. Crews are almost done with all the underground work, in terms of the backwash tank, electrical, and plumbing for the main building, and footers for other buildings.


July 2021:



June 2021:



May 2021:


May 6, 2021:

Contractors began pouring the foundation for the one-million-gallon ground storage tanks.


April 2021:


March 2021:

Contractors were able to complete preloading for ground storage tanks. Lifts and compaction for the calcite beds have been completed. Underground site piping has been completed and entrance driveway has been finished. Excavation and electrical work is in place for the pipe gallery.


January 14, 2021:

Contractors installed the discharge pipe and began installation of the river diffuser.

 


December 2020:

Site work on the aquifer-sourced Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant begins.

 


October 7, 2020:
H2GO holds a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate restarting construction on the much anticipated aquifer-sourced Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant. Those in attendance included representatives from MB Kahn Construction CompanyCarolina Civil WorksCarmichael ConstructionThe Wooten Company, local leaders from the Towns of Belville and Leland, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, H2GO staff, and current and former H2GO board members involved in the advancement of the project.


September 15, 2020:

The board voted unanimously to approve three contracts ($21,400,000.00 contract for M.B. Kahn Construction Company Inc. to build the RO plant, a $3,455,901.00 contract for Carmichael Construction Company Inc.  to install lines and a river diffuser for the concentrate discharge to the Brunswick River , and $5,998,430.26 for raw and finished water mains built by Carolina Civil Works.)

September 1, 2020:

The Local Government Commission’s (LGC) approved H2GO's  bond financing request.

July 21, 2020:

The board approved a proposal by First Bank submitted on July 21st 2020 to purchase the District’s Revenue Bond, Series 2020, at an interest rate of 2.65% which includes a term of 20 years, and a maximum principal amount of $42,000,000.

June 5, 2020:

All assets were returned to H2GO from The Town of Belville.

May 18, 2020:

Judge Henry entered an Order granting the Joint Motion and ruling in favor of The Town of Belville and H2GO.  This ruling allowed Belville to return the assets of H2GO to H2GO and allow H2GO to resume construction of the much anticipated RO plant.

May 1, 2020:

The Honorable Charles Henry, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, heard a Joint Motion that had been filed by Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO and the Town of Belville, asking the court to lift the stay on the current permanent injunction filed in July of 2019 that was preventing Belville from returning the assets of H2GO to H2GO and preventing H2GO from proceeding with the construction of the aquifer sourced RO plant.

November 5, 2019:

The board shifts to a 4-1 pro-RO majority with the election of Steve Hosmer and Barry Laub.

July 2019:

Superior Court Judge Charles Henry notified all parties in the H2GO case that he intended to enter a permanent injunction.

April 22, 2019:

The Town of Belville votes to appeal judge's decision.

August 15, 2018:

Superior Court Judge Charles Henry ruled the transfer of H2GO unlawful.

August 15, 2018:

Superior Court Judge Charles Henry dismissed two out of eleven of Leland and H2GO’s claims against Belville and denied Belville’s motion to dismiss.

March 21, 2018:

North Carolina’s Chief Justice designated the case as “exceptional”, reassigning the case to Superior Court Judge Charles Henry.

December 13, 2017:

Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock orders things to remain as they were on November 28, meaning the Town of Belville remained the legal owner of H2GO’s assets, while H2GO continued to manage the utility. 

December 1, 2017:

The Town of Leland filed a temporary restraining order against H2GO and the Town of Belville over the sale of its assets. The judge granted the restraining order.

November 28, 2017:

The board voted to sell its assets to the Town of Belville after the November election saw a shift in pro-RO board to an anti-RO board. The board felt this was necessary to keep the project alive and Belville served as custodians of H2GO's assets until the project could resume.

August 22, 2017:

The board voted on a resolution to transfer $5.7 million from three different funds to go toward paying $2.75 million to Carolina Civil Works and $4.66 million to State Utility Contractors Inc. to begin construction, with the intent to reimburse the funds once the financing is approved by the LGC. The resolution passed with a 3-2 vote.

July 18, 2017:
The board voted 3-2 to approve  five contracts ($16,995,000 contract for State Utility Contractors Inc. to build the RO plant, a $1,725,200 contract for TA Loving Co. to bury a concentrated discharge line to take brine water from the RO plant to the Brunswick River discharge, $4,622,400 for raw and finished water lines built by Hall Contracting Corp. and $2,755,346 for a regional pump station and force main on U.S. 17 to be built by Carolina Civil Works Inc.) contingent on approval of the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) revenue bond approval for a $25 million bond for construction of their Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Treatment Plant.  

The Board also voted 3-2 at the same meeting to refinance the bond through First Bank in Leland.

May 30, 2017:


Skipper's Well Drilling and Pump Service began drilling on well-site #5 on Nuns Trail.

May 10, 2017:
The board voted 3-1 to approve $3,348,000 in contracts for the construction of wells and the procurement of plant equipment during a special meeting. Only two bids were received for the well construction. Skipper’s Well Drilling and Pump Service of Leland won the contract with a $1,634,000 bid. The bid process for procuring plant equipment had a few twists. One company was eliminated for not including sales tax while another firm was rejected for not following bid specifications for a pump. From the three remaining bidders, Harn RO Systems of Venice, Florida won the contract for $1,714,000. This put H2GO $650,000 under budget thus far.

May 8, 2017:
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit to discharge brine wastewater into the Brunswick River from the plant. “Based on the review of the public record, written and oral public comments, the North Carolina General Statutes and Administrative Code, and discussions with other Division of Water Resources (DWR) staff, I recommend to the Division Director that the draft NPDES permit for the Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO Water Treatment Plant be modified and issued…”.  The primary permit modification includes a provision to implement a one-year supplemental monitoring program, to be coordinated with the UNCW Center for Marine Science, to verify mixing and dilution predictions established to ensure environmental protection of the river.  

June 2016:
The Wooten Company finalized the PER detailing existing water supplies, future conditions, project alternatives, recommended plan, and plan implementation and Raftelis Financial Consultants prepared an updated Economic Feasibility Study for the proposed Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant based on probably construction costs, detailed O&M costs, water to be produced, escalation factors, growth assumptions, and future capital improvements.

October 2015-January 2016:
RO pilot plant testing will be performed for a 90-day period.  Using water from the newly constructed production wells, the pilot plant was operated 24/7 to analyze key operating parameters (e.g.., membrane flux, permeate recovery and quality, concentrate quality and flow, pre and post treatment chemical dosing, operating pressures, etc.).

June 2015-October 2015:
Two (2) production wells were recently installed at the proposed RO plant site:  one 12” well was installed 400’ deep into the Lower Peedee aquifer and one 12” well was installed 600’ deep into the Black Creek aquifer.  Pump testing performed to-date indicates better performance rates than from the test wells and preliminary sampling indicates better water quality than from the test wells.

October 2013-July 2015:
Based on the North Carolina State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), a comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed RO project was developed.

October 2013-February 2014:
Brackish concentrate, or reject water from RO plant operations are proposed to be discharged to the Brunswick River.  CORMIX is an expert rule-based system for the analysis, prediction, and design of discharges into water bodies, i.e.., the Brunswick River.  Based on the receiving stream characteristics obtained from field investigations, and concentrate water chemistry, CORMIX predicts mixing and plume characteristics from the proposed outfall. 

March 2013-August 2013:
Based on the Water Supply Feasibility Study, H2GO commissioned Raftelis Financial Consultants to prepare a Feasibility Analysis to evaluate the economic feasibility of building a new RO water treatment plant versus continuing to purchase wholesale water from BrunsCo PU.  The analysis focused on three primary measures:  1) differences in projected annual costs and expected impacts on rates and customers; 2) Net Present Value (NPV) of total costs over a 20-year planning period; and 3) reserves generated from targeted debt coverage.

May 2012-June 2013:
Under GMA’s guidance, H2GO installed 4 test wells - two wells at our elevated water tank site, and two wells on Trade Street.  These locations were selected to provide a hydrogeologic cross section from southeast to northwest through H2GO’s service area.  At each test well site, one 4” well was installed 400’ deep into the Lower Peedee aquifer and one 4” well was installed 600’ deep into the Black Creek aquifer.  Pump tests were performed and water samples were analyzed from each well at each site. 

April 2012-August 2013:
H2GO evaluated each RO plant, comparing treatment capacities; water source and supply characteristics; pre-treatment and post-treatment operations; permeate recovery rates; concentrate characteristics and outfall locations; operation and maintenance costs; and facility location in relationship to their community.  The H2GO Board, Leland Town Council, Belville Commissioners and staff toured RO plants in NC and discussed with their administrators and plant operators the advantages of RO treatment. 

March 2012:
The Water Supply Feasibility Study was completed and determined that no additional supply allocations from LCFW&SA were available to pursue surface water supplies and treatment; that sustainable and treatable groundwater supplies from the Lower Peedee and the Black Creek aquifers underlie the H2GO service area; and that preliminary cost comparisons indicate brackish groundwater supplies with RO treatment are favorable over continued purchase of wholesale water from BrunsCo PU.

July 2011:
H2GO commissioned a Water Supply Feasibility Study to evaluate alternative water supplies to meet future needs based on anticipated future service areas and customer growth over a 20-year planning period.  This study evaluated the feasibility of 1) obtaining surface water (Cape Fear River) supplies from the LCFW&SA with a new surface water treatment plant; 2) the feasibility of developing groundwater supplies for treatment in a new reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plant; and 3) comparing those cost estimates to continued purchase of finished water from BrunsCo PU.  As part of the alternative water supply evaluations, Groundwater Management Associates (GMA) performed a Hydrogeologic Framework Study and Preliminary Well field Evaluation to target aquifers for future exploration that have potential to provide sustainable and treatable brackish groundwater supplies for an RO treatment plant.  

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