Aqua North Carolina statement

At Aqua, we know our customers expect and deserve water that looks clear and tastes good. The challenge that North Carolina faces centers on the volume of iron and manganese found naturally in the earth – and the groundwater. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these minerals don't affect health, but they can make water look orange or brown and affect the way it tastes and smells. Aqua is committed to fixing the problem by installing filters on all the wells that need them, but this is an effort that will take time. Depending on the volume of compounds and the type of filter necessary, the cost can range from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars per well, and Aqua determines the best treatment system based on each well's water quality.

To this extent, Aqua has spent approximately $23 million in capital improvements in 2016 and expects to have spent an additional $42 million by the end of 2017 throughout the 730 systems Aqua owns and operates in the state. In terms of customer meters, we are replacing in excess of 14,000 aged meters at a cost of just over $3 million in 2017. Additionally, Aqua has spent $12 million to complete 62 filter projects between 2016 and today, with plans for another nine filter projects to be completed and placed in service by the end of the year.

In addition to installing filters, Aqua uses a mineral sequestration treatment to help alleviate discolored water. We also take supplementary operational steps to minimize the problem, such as regular system pipe flushing and tank-cleaning programs that prioritize systems with higher concentrations of iron and manganese to clear out mineral deposits that have built up over time.

The Bayleaf master system is one of 730 systems Aqua owns and operates. However, this one system is made up of 121 wells that are interconnected to serve 93 separate communities in the North Raleigh area; 11 of these wells currently have filters installed. Having one well go down for repair can affect the water quality within many of these interconnected communities. As a result, it is challenging to pinpoint which communities will be most impacted, if at all, from the effects of a well or main needing repair. This is sometimes a reason that we provide notice to more than just one specific community. Aqua proactively notifies its customers of planned work scheduled within a water system; however, emergency efforts are not planned and typically fixed within several hours. Consequently, notifications of water issues or outages are sometimes difficult to isolate and therefore not distributed in every case.

In all, iron and manganese in groundwater is widespread throughout the country and is especially problematic in North Carolina. Our team at Aqua is working diligently every day to alleviate this issue and provide the highest quality water for our customers.