Watershed Management

Providing high-quality water at the consumer’s tap is an objective of the Public Works Commission. In meeting this objective, PWC relies on two things – the initial quality of its raw water and the treatment processes that are applied to the water as it moves toward the tap. PWC’s Watershed Management Program is an important element of the multiple-barrier approach to providing high-quality water to our customers. Additionally, we must protect our watershed to prevent irreversible degradation that could render the water unsuitable for use as a water supply.

A watershed is a region in which all land drains to a particular body of water or common point. It could be as small as your backyard or as large as any major river basin.

The primary objective of the Watershed Management Program is to reduce pollutant loadings and stressors coming into the watershed, resulting in the following:

  • Improves the quality of water in the watershed
  • Lowers the cost of treatment at the water plants
  • Ultimately improves the health of both the general public and the aquatic ecosystem

The current Watershed Management Program was established in January 1990 to ensure high quality water supplies for PWC’s water plants. PWC has two water treatment plants, the P.O. Hoffer Water Treatment Facility, which is located on the Cape Fear River, and the Glenville Lake Water Treatment Facility, which is located on Glenville Lake in the Little Cross Creek Watershed. PWC also operates a pump station on Big Cross Creek, which can pump up to one million gallons of water per day to the Glenville Lake Water Treatment Facility.

PWC’s Watershed Program includes Land Management, Water Quality Management, and Education. These three areas are the focus of our watershed management activities.

Land Management
Watersheds staff manages approximately 6,000 acres of land through one or more of the following practices:

  • Prescribed Burning: Staff conducts controlled burning on watershed property to promote the longleaf pine and wiregrass ecosystem along with other fire dependent flora.
  • Forestry Management:The thinning of dense stands of trees and the removal of invasive and exotic plant species improves the health of the forest and enhances biodiversity.
  • Wetland Management:Native wetland plant species have been introduced to enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Invasive and non-native plant species are controlled by manual removal.

Water Quality Management
Watershed staff manages four lakes and a wetland pond – Bonnie Doone Lake, Kornbow Lake, Mintz Pond, Glenville Lake and Mallard Creek Wetland Pond. These areas are part of our drinking water supply watershed. Staff co-manages Big Cross Creek and portions of the Cape Fear River.

Water samples are collected at the headwaters of each lake and downstream from the dam of each lake. Samples are also collected at the headwaters and outlet structure of the wetland pond and at other strategic areas draining into the water supply watershed. Staff collects grab samples at base level at sites on the watershed including one sample from Big Cross Creek sub-watershed. Staff collects field analysis of Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Conductivity, Turbidity, and Temperature. The PWC Lab analyzes sample results for Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Ammonia, Total Phosphorus, Nitrate, Nitrite, TKN Nitrogen, UV254, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Nickel, and Zinc. The results are reviewed and abnormalities are investigated.

Education
Educational outreach is an important component of the Watershed Management Program.  Bringing environmental awareness to the general public is an important way to protect our natural resources. Educational opportunities are offered and are coordinated through the PWC Communications/Community Relations Department. For more information, call (910) 223-4009 or e-mail info@faypwc.com.