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Drinking Water Program

Drinking Water Program

Program Manager Contact Information:
Drinking Water Systems Program  |  252-466-5151
Water Conservation Program  |  252-466-4707

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Program Overview        

The intent of the Drinking Water Systems Program is to ensure there is adequate potable supply to the communities of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point and outlying fields and that it is safe for consumption. Additionally, this program supports fire protection aboard the installation. The intent of the Water Conservation Program is to implement measures to reduce water use. The goal serves to preserve natural water resources and to reduce costs associated with managing potable water use.

MCAS Cherry Point owns and operates a Water Treatment Plant (WTP) with a 6 million gallon per day (MGD) capacity and average production of 3.5 MGD. MCAS Cherry Point’s potable water system serves an estimated 17,200 people. Small water supply, treatment, and distribution systems are also located at Marine Corps Outlying Field (MCOLF) Atlantic Field and Bombing Target-11 (BT-11) Piney Island.

The Federal government has placed a high priority on water efficiency at government facilities such as MCAS Cherry Point and its tenants. Measurable goals have been set and water conservation measures must be developed and implemented in an effort to obtain those goals. The Water Conservation Program provides oversight of this effort.

Environmental Requirements        

Marine Corps policy requires that all Marine Corps installations and activities comply with all applicable environmental requirements, which may include Federal, state, local, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of the Navy (DON), Marine Corps, and MCAS Cherry Point rules, regulations, and requirements. Legal and other environmental requirements related to the Drinking Water Systems Program and Water Conservation Program are maintained on the EM Portal.

Programs, Plans, Resources and Responsibilities        

A complete description of the responsibilities of the Drinking Water Systems Program and Water Conservation Program is available on the EM Portal.

Major components of the Drinking Water Systems Program and Water Conservation Program include:

  • Development and use requirements compliance

  • Source water protection

  • Water treatment, system operation and maintenance (O&M) and sampling and analysis

  • Water conservation

  • Backflow prevention and cross-connection control

Capacity Development and Capacity Use

The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments require states to create capacity development programs and to prevent the formation of non-viable community and non-transient non-community water systems. The capacity development rules refer to a water system's technical, managerial, and financial ability to comply fully with all aspects of the SDWA prior to formation or expansion of a water system.

Source Water and Water System Assessment and Protection

There are many contaminants that may be present in source water before it is treated. These include microbes, inorganics, pesticides and herbicides, organic chemicals, and radioactive contaminants. MCAS Cherry Point is implementing a best available technology to remove these contaminants if they are present in the source water. A new reverse osmosis treatment plant will come online in the fall of 2020 to facilitate this process.

 According to the SDWA’s Source Water Protection Program, source water assessments must be completed for every public water supply that uses a groundwater supply. Since MCAS Cherry Point uses groundwater as its source of drinking water, it is important that groundwater supplies be protected from threats located in the area surrounding the well or well field.

Water Treatment, System O&M, and Sampling and Analysis

The drinking water supplied to the Air Station and the outlying fields must meet the maximum contaminant level (MCLs) set by the SDWA and enforced by state regulations under the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ). The Public Works Department (PWD) is responsible for the daily operation of the groundwater supply wells and water treatment operations at the Air Station and the outlying fields. Continuous monitoring is conducted at the Air Station WTP to ensure that treatment equipment is functioning properly.

Water Conservation

Executive Order requires reduction of water consumption at Federal facilities. The Water Conservation Program Manager within the Facilities Engineering Department works with other Air Station departments to implement water conservation measures and documents reduction success to ensure compliance with the order.

Training and Communication        

It is essential that system operators have the appropriate training and certifications that are required under the SDWA. Furthermore, PWD personnel tasked with installing and testing backflow prevention devices must be certified to do so.

Practice-Aspect-Impact Risk        

The risk of negative environmental impacts from MCAS Cherry Point operations may be assessed by analyzing the practices that occur at the facility. Aspects are the characteristics of these practices that can cause an impact to the environment or other resources. It is Marine Corps policy that all Marine Corps installations identify and assess the environmental risk of the practices and aspects associated with each environmental program. Significant practices and/or aspects associated with this program include:

  • Drinking water management / water use

Objectives, Targets and Actions to Improve Performance        

When necessary, objectives and targets (O&T) are developed in order to minimize the environmental risks posed by the facility’s practices and to track progress towards achieving environmental goals. Any O&Ts related to the Drinking Water Systems Program and Water Conservation Program and their associated actions to improve performance are maintained on the EM Portal. The O&T developed for this program is:

Objective: Monitor or determine the efficiency of the new water plant and how much water will be pumped out of the aquifer for processing to satisfy demand.

Target: Gathering of energy and water usage data from the old plant (conventional) to make comparisons to the new reverse osmosis plant and conduct statistical analysis of the data.

Audit and Evaluation of Compliance        

The Drinking Water Systems Program and Water Conservation Program are evaluated under each triennial Benchmark Environmental Compliance Evaluation (ECE). Findings and corrective actions from these audits are maintained on the EM Portal.

Water storage tank inspections must be conducted according to O&M procedures.


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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point