Water and Wastewater
Water Treatment and Distribution
Our water system withdraws from the Castle Hayne Aquifer through three wells with a combined capacity of 925,000 gallons per day. Two elevated storage tanks with a total capacity of 400,000 ensure a consistent supply and adequate pressure throughout the system. In 2018, we treated 86.8 million gallons of water with a daily average of 237,534 gallons. In 2019, we treated 90.7 million gallons with a daily average of 248,531 gallons.
The water in the Castle Hayne Aquifer, while plentiful, requires treatment to remove iron and manganese. Using pH adjustment, pressure filters and adding chlorine, our operators ensure that clean water is ready for our customers to use.
Water is transmitted to nearly 1500 households through 19 miles of pipe ranging in size from two to 8 inches in diameter. In addition to providing water for consumption, our system also stands ready in the event of fire. There are 108 hydrants located throughout the system in order to give the fire department ample access to water for their work.
As with wastewater, our water system is regulated by the State who grants us a permit to operate. In accordance with state standards, water samples are tested at an independent laboratory for bacteria and other harmful contaminants. Each customer receives a copy of our annual report showing the results of our testing.
Wastewater Collection and Treatment
The Town of River Bend owns and operates a Wastewater Treatment and Collection system serving approximately 950 households and businesses. Wastewater is collected from our customers and transmitted via approximately 11 of miles gravity and force main pipes. Eight lift stations pressurize portions of the system so the waste is efficiently moved to our treatment facility on Gull Pointe Drive.
In 2018, we treated 50.4 million gallons of wastewater and in 2019, we treated 40.4 million gallons. The daily average treatment rate was 138,160 gallons in 2018 and 111,048 gallons in 2019. The State standard for waste treatment capacity is 330 gallons per day per household, which in our case translates to 287,100 gallons per day. This standard shows that we are using 87% of our permitted capacity, while in reality we use, at peak flow, 38% of our permitted capacity.
The North Carolina Department of Water Quality (DWQ) administers federal and state regulations designed to protect the quality of the receiving waters. Part of this administration is the issuance of permits for treatment facilities like the one we have here in River Bend. Our treatment plant has a permitted capacity of 330,000 gallons per day and discharges treated effluent to the Trent River. We take weekly samples of our effluent to test for chemical and nutrient content to ensure our plant is operating effectively and we are within the limits established by DWQ. In the summer months, we also sample river water up and downstream from our discharge point to determine what, if any, impact we are having upon the Trent River.
The Town holds three discharge permits, one for the main wastewater plant, and the other two to discharge backwash for our water treatment filters. These permits allow us to discharge up to 7,000 per day at each site.
Are Utilities that Need to Raise Rates Actually Raising Rates?
University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill article on this topic referenced in Mayor Kirkland's April 2017 River Bender Article.