MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Wastewater will be moving underwater through pipes underneath the Catawba River when a new treatment facility is built near the Whitewater Center in Charlotte.

Mount Holly, Belmont, and Charlotte are all growing so fast that each city needs new technology for wastewater treatment.

“The same thing that makes for good fishing, can end up causing issues,” said Brandon Jones, the Catawba Riverkeeper.

Treated wastewater can be a messy business.

“Our waste has nutrients in it, you can think about it like fertilizer basically, you use manure for fertilizer. It’s kind of the same thing with us,” said Jones.

Jones says Lake Wylie has limits on how much nitrogen phosphorous can be discharged into the water.

“It’s more efficient to build one new facility to treat all of the discharge than to try and upgrade each of the facilities,” said Jones.

Charlotte, Belmont, and Mount Holly are all about to get a major upgrade to wastewater treatment.

Work on the Stowe Regional Water Resource Recovery Facility is now underway.

The pipes are deep underneath in the bedrock of the Catawba River, so deep underwater that the depth is equivalent to the height of a six-story building, 65 to 75 feet below the Catawba River and Long Creek.

Once all the work is finished the underwater pipes will connect to the Stowe Regional water facility that’s being built and carry wastewater from pump stations in Mount Holly and Belmont and the facility in Paw Creek in northwest Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

The Catawba Riverkeeper says the project, which will cost more than $380 million according to Charlotte Water, is badly needed to keep up with the growth in the area.

“In general, this is a good thing a new facility is going to be able to treat our waste more efficiently and to a higher water quality standard. We’re also eliminating two older facilities and replacing it with one new one, so that’s less likely to have spills and leakages, so in general, this is a good thing for water quality in the region,” said Jones.

The entire project is set to be finished in 2027. A groundbreaking for the massive Stowe facility will likely happen this coming June.