Brighton Forest is a residential subdivision in Wake County that, at the time of development, lay in an unincorporated area of Wake County, outside of Fuquay-Varina, NC. As with any new development in North Carolina, the developer was required to provide wastewater treatment options for the community.
Typically, the developer would hire an engineer to conduct an alternatives analysis to identify an existing wastewater treatment plant that would receive the community’s discharge or specify that a new wastewater treatment plant be constructed to handle the discharge. Brighton Forest was unusual, however, because it was being constructed in the Middle Creek watershed, an area where the state of North Carolina was actively seeking to reduce discharge. But because the area was not under the direct jurisdiction of a municipal government, three wastewater treatment facilities had already been constructed as part of three separate, earlier development projects.
In an effort to decrease further discharge to Middle Creek, the state posed an extra challenge to the Brighton Forest developer: they not only had to evaluate alternatives for the new community, but also for the three existing communities. The state hoped to find a better long-term solution to the area’s wastewater needs—possibly by creating a regional treatment plant—but it meant the developer needed to deliver four times the standard amount documentation in order to receive an NPDES permit.
WithersRavenel assisted the developer by evaluating 3–5 options for each of the four communities for a total of roughly 16 possible solutions. The state’s ideal solution of consolidating operations at a single, large plant was impractical given that three facilities had already been built; any benefits gained by consolidating were outweighed by the cost of abandoning three relatively new facilities. Many of the remaining options involved pumping wastewater from one or more communities to another community, but each of these scenarios required either a new mid-sized treatment plant to be built or an existing small plant to be considerably expanded. When the cost of the pumping was factored in with the cost of construction, it became clear that the most cost-effective solution was building a fourth small plant to serve the Brighton Forest community.
WithersRavenel ultimately designed, permitted and administered the construction of a 120,000 GPD wastewater treatment plant with extended aeration, tertiary filtration, and UV disinfection. The Brighton Forest subdivision was later annexed by the Town of Fuquay-Varina, and the Town now operates the facility as part of its wastewater treatment system.