Johnston County and the Town of Smithfield have agreed to new terms on wholesale bulk water rates.
The new agreement finalized last week replaces a 2009 contract between the two agencies.
Johnston County purchases water from four government agencies to meet increased demands caused by residential and commercial growth.
The new contract with the Town of Smithfield increases the minimum amount the county will purchase to 2 million gallons per day (MGD). The contract allows for up to 2.5 MGD to be purchased with an additional 1 MGD option through 2019.
The agreement is effective through the year 2033.
The new agreement increases the wholesale rate Johnston County will pay the Town of Smithfield for bulk water from $1.50 to $2.00 per 1,000 gallons. Smithfield Public Utility Director Ted Credle said he wanted to charge the County less than the other wholesale suppliers in hopes the County would look to Smithfield first when supplementing their own capacity. Harnett County charges $2.13, Wayne County $2.15 and the City of Wilson $3.00 per 1,000 gallons of water sold to Johnston County.
Credle said it costs $1.68 to produce 1,000 gallons of water sold to the County. The new higher wholesale water rates combined with the increased demand from Johnston County is expected to generate an additional $315,000 in revenue to the Town of Smithfield over the next year.
As part of the new agreement, the Town of Smithfield has agreed to accept ownership of a pressurized 12 inch water line along US 70 Business near Rose Manor Shopping Center in West Smithfield from the County.
Demand For Water Growing
Johnston County has their own water plant near Wilson’s Mills but is seeing demand increase substantially each year.
Chandra Cox Farmer the Director of Johnston County Public Utilities said the average daily water demand in 2016 was 9.82 MGD with a peak day of 13.74 MGD. So far in 2017, the demand has averaged 10.24 MGD with a peak day of 14.15 MGD already recorded. “The rapid growth within the County will continue to increase water demands,” Mrs. Farmer says.
She anticipates the average daily water demands to increase by almost 50 percent in the next ten years.
“The County has plans for additional supply and plant expansions at the existing water treatment plant in Wilson’s Mills, in addition to a potential new intake and plant site supplied by the Neuse River in the southeastern part of the County,” Farmer says.
The county is also discussing potential purchase agreements with more towns and counties. This Spring the Town of Pine Level approached Johnston County leaders about selling excess capacity to the County.