Welcome to our page dedicated to keeping you informed about the proposed merger of the water and sewer systems between the Town of Pittsboro and the City of Sanford. Below you will find various sections that explain the background of the merger discussions, the benefits of merging our water and wastewater systems, answers to frequently asked questions, and a form where you can submit questions to be answered on this page. Below is a log showing updates and newly added information, so please check back regularly.

Update Log

  • 06/21/2023 - Initial Publication
  • 6/30/2023 - Answered questions regarding the redundancy of water lines, options if the Town disagrees with water/sewer rates, the perpetual nature of this agreement, and water quality concerns related to the location of Sanford's water intake in relation to their wastewater discharge.
  • 7/13/2023 - Answered questions regarding Chapel Ridge/Aqua NC.
  • 7/14/2023 - Added Documents and Related Presentations Tab and answered a question regarding source water quality.
  • 7/19/2023 - Added Documents to include the Final Merger Agreement, the Merger Study Final Report, Sanford WFF Advanced Treatment Design Study, and Monthly/Daily Flow Report.


The Town of Pittsboro is a rapidly growing community with a population of approximately 5,000 residents as of 2023. The town is known for its rich history, vibrant community, and strategic location, which makes it an attractive place for both residents and businesses. However, this rapid growth has brought with it a number of challenges, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and development. Water and wastewater management is a critical aspect of any town's infrastructure. In small towns like Pittsboro, North Carolina, these systems can face various challenges. As populations grow and industries develop, the demand for water and wastewater services increases. This can strain existing water supply and treatment facilities, leading to capacity issues.


In many cases, including ours, the infrastructure for water and wastewater treatment was built decades ago and wasn't designed to handle current population levels or industrial water needs. This leads to various problems, including water and wastewater capacity shortages, problems with water quality, and issues with wastewater treatment.

Wastewater capacity issues can be particularly problematic. Wastewater treatment plants remove harmful pollutants from water before it is discharged back into the environment. If these plants are over capacity, they may not be able to effectively treat all of the wastewater they receive. This can lead to the discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater, which can harm local ecosystems and pose a risk to public health. As such, there are legal and regulatory limits on the amount of wastewater each treatment plant is able to receive, treat, and discharge. The Wastewater Treatment Plant for the Town of Pittsboro has been at capacity for some time.

Because the Town's Wastewater Treatment Plant is at capacity, the Town has been unable to allow growth or development outside of the area served by the Chatham Park Water Reclamation Center, meaning that growth and development outside of Chatham Park have not been possible.  The current customer base and water/wastewater rates cannot cover the costs of these improvements, so there is a substantial financial challenge for a town of Pittsboro's size and resources. In response to these factors, the town has implemented a series of moratoriums on certain types of development. These moratoriums have been designed to give the town time to plan for and manage its growth in a sustainable way.


The town has implemented over 15 moratoriums or extensions of the moratoriums over the past 20+ years. These include moratoriums on new residential subdivisions, a moratorium on new commercial developments, and a moratorium on new industrial developments. Each of these moratoriums has been implemented for a specific reason and for a specific period of time. The impact of these moratoriums has been significant. On the one hand, they have allowed the town to take a step back and plan for its future growth in a more thoughtful and strategic way. On the other hand, they have also impacted the town's economy, particularly regarding new development and job creation.

As a result of these moratoriums and the capacity issues faced by the Town, discussions began in earnest in 2009 about upgrading existing or building new facilities to increase capacity. Some of these milestones include:

  • 2009 - Discussions and Study on a Public/Private Partnership between the Town, Chatham County, and Private Developers to build a regional wastewater treatment center.
  • 2011 - Discussed exploring a connection between the Town's Wastewater Treatment Plant and the City of Sanford to increase capacity.
  • 2014 - The Town requested qualifications for firms to upgrade the Wastewater Treatment Plant and to provide a Preliminary Engineering Report on building a wastewater force main to Sanford.
  • 2020 - The Town explored an Interlocal Agreement between the Town and the City of Sanford on a regional water and wastewater utility system.
  • 2021 - The Town entered into an Interlocal Agreement between the Town, the City of Sanford, Chatham County, the Town of Holly Springs, and the Town of Fuquay-Varina to study, design, and complete the construction of an 18 Million Gallon / Day wastewater treatment facility upgrade in Sanford to meet the needs of all the partners.

Discussions with Sanford

As a result of the studies, it was determined that a merger of the Town's and City of Sanford's water and wastewater systems was an economically and operationally viable option. As such, staff and elected officials from the Town and the City of Sanford began meeting in January of 2023 to discuss how a merger would work and to discuss the Interlocal Agreement. Final revisions to the Draft Interlocal Agreement are being made. The Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing and discussion on the proposed merger on Monday, June 26th, 2023.