History and Organizational Overview
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Water systems in Martin County have historically relied on groundwater as their water supply source.

In the late 1990s, the NC Division of Water Resources recognized that regional groundwater supplies in eastern North Carolina were being depleted, due to overuse, and developed strategies for managing the continued decline of groundwater levels throughout this part of North Carolina.

Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Restrictions:
Because of heavy use, the Cretaceous Aquifers have become stressed over time. Due to this stress, the NC Environmental Management Commission designated 15 counties as the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA). The CCPCUA rules, which create a ground water use permitting process, became effective August 1, 2002. The CCPCUA rules require water users to cut back on use of these overused aquifers and increase use of other water sources (including alternative aquifers, surface water and other sources) over a sixteen year period. All ground water users using more than 100,000 gallons per day are required to have a water use permit in order to continue withdrawing.

The rules require Martin County to reduce its dependence and use of groundwater by up to 75%. The goal of these rules is to limit groundwater withdrawls at a sustainable rate. This will allow the groundwater aquifers to replenish themselves, thus providing a reliable, high quality source of water for years to come.

The Wooten Company completed the Martin County Water Resources Plan in March 2005.

In December 2007, the Martin County Water and Sewer Authority (MCRWASA) was formed to address the CCPCUA rules. Martin County and the Town of Williamston are current members.
Development of Plan for Water Treatment Plant on Roanoke River:
In response to the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA) Rules, the MCRWASA, in association with its consultants, developed a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER). After study of several alternatives, including multiple groundwater alternatives, a Roanoke River water treatment plant was selected as the supply alternative. The Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) recommended a 2 million gallon / day water treatment plant drawing water from the Roanoke River and distributing treated water into the existing water distribution system.

In 2009, the MCRWASA began planning for a water treatment plant on the Roanoke River. The MCRWASA water treatment plant project involves the construction of a 2.0 million gallon per day (MGD) plant and an intake station on the Roanoke River. The plant is scheduled to be completed by July 2015 (with a funding deadline of September 2015).

As mentioned above, the Martin County Regional Water and Sewer Authority (MCRWASA) has two members -- the Town of Williamston and Martin County, which serves Water & Sewer District 1 (WSD 1) and Water & Sewer District 2 (WSD 2). WSD 1 is in the "Declining Water Level Zone", while WSD 2 and the Town of Williamston are in the "Saltwater Encroachment Zone".
Groundwater Reductions:
The groundwater usage reductions in Martin County will occur in three phases:
  Williamston, WSD 2 WSD 1
Phase 1 - August 1, 2008 25% Reduction 10% Reduction
Phase 2 - August 1, 2013 50% Reduction 20% Reduction
Phase 3 - August 1, 2018 75% Reduction 30% Reduction
With the above reductions, the available well production of 1.83 MGD (2008 reduction) will be reduced to 0.896 MGD by 2018.

Average day demands are projected to exceed regulated supplies as early as 2016 (and no later than the August 1, 2018 reduction).
Water Treatment Plant Has Capacity for Current and Future Needs:
Although census data indicates that the population of Martin County has been static or in decline, projections indicate the majority of the water systems in Martin County expect growth in their customer bases. This is due, in part, to the fact that the systems are expanding and adding new lines to serve rural customers that have not previously been served.

Also, the project provides for increased water availability and sustainability necessary for public health and safety. In addition, the project provides water capacity that is needed for future industry expansion and location in the county.