Since PWC’s first water reclamation facility was built in 1959, the growth of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has increased the demand for quality wastewater services annually. PWC continues to meet the needs brought on by residential expansion and economic development as well as be instrumental in the installation of wastewater services in developed areas that were built without the benefits of public utilities.
PWC’s PWC’s EPA Award-winning Cross Creek and Rockfish Creek Water Reclamation Facilities (WRF) have the capacity to treat 46 MGD. During FY2019, Cross Creek WRF treated an average of 14.6 MGD and Rockfish Creek treated an average 17.2 MGD. The demand on the Rockfish Creek facility continues to increase, as it serves the fast-growing southwestern portion of the county. Phase II expansion to upgrade the capacity at Rockfish Creek to 21 MGD, was completed in the summer of 2006. PWC maintains over 1,300 miles of sewer mains, 79 miles of forced sewer mains and 85 lift stations. In FY2019 over 10 billion gallons of wastewater were treated.
As a regional utility provider, PWC also maintains and operates several sanitary sewer systems in the area. Services are provided to 1,164 customers in the Town of Stedman, the Kelly Hills Sanitary Sewer Districts, and NORCRESS (Towns of Wade, Godwin, and Falcon), all in Cumberland County.
PWC operates a water reuse program at the two water reclamation facilities. The recycled water is also utilized for in-plant applications such as cleaning equipment and various plant processes. In addition, under a state-monitored Land Application Program, PWC recycles biosolids at 3,700 acres of Cumberland, Robeson, and Hoke County farmland, including a 750-acre farm owned by PWC. Liquid biosolids are either injected below the ground or applied to the surface at the “agronomic” rate (the nitrogen rate required by the crop) to fertilize crops such as corn, soybeans, coastal Bermuda grass and small grains. Inspections and research by state regulatory agencies since 1987 have shown this process to be a beneficial and environmentally sound way to recycle byproducts from the water reclamation facilities.
In 2016, PWC earned the North Carolina American Water Works Association-Water Environment Association Wastewater Collection System of the Year Award in the Large System category (750+ miles of collection system). This award honors the collection system personnel that serve their community with a high level of professionalism and diligent work in the operation and maintenance of their wastewater collection system facilities. PWC’s staff has been recognized for making the most of their available resources, no matter how great or small, while protecting the public health and the natural beauty of the environment through proactive practices beyond what is required of its NCDENR collection system permit.
Fayetteville Sanitary Sewer History
The first sanitary sewer mains in Fayetteville were installed in 1906. PWC completed the Cross Creek Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) in 1959, at a cost of $2,250,000. It provided primary and secondary wastewater treatment, removing approximately 85% of impurities before the effluent was discharged into the Cape Fear River. The original plant, designed to treat 9 million gallons per day (MGD), was expanded to treat 16 MGD in 1976, and a further expansion to 22 MGD was completed in 1992. Since this upgrade, the facility has the ability to remove more pollutants than ever. The facility was re-rated to 25 MGD in 2002 after several process improvements. Additional process improvements and reliability enhancements (backup power) were completed in 2007. Additional storage of biosolids (1.8 MG tank) was added in 2010 to handle the extra water plant residuals generated by supplying potable water to Ft. Bragg.
A second 6 MGD plant known as the Rockfish Creek Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) was completed in 1985. The Rockfish WRF was then expanded to treat 12 MGD in 1994 and re-rated to 14 MGD in 1996. In 2002, the plant completed the first phase of three expansions, increasing its treatment capacity to 16 MGD. In May 2007, the Rockfish Creek WRF completed the second phase of its three-phase expansion for a new treatment capacity of 21 MGD along with more reliability.
Both Cross Creek and Rockfish Creek WRFs have been honored with the national EPA Operations and Maintenance Award, in 1994 and 1988, respectively.