Depleting ground water resources have been a longstanding issue on a global level, and North Carolina has been paying particularly more attention to its resources over the last 25 years. In the late 1990s the NC Division of Water Resources (NCDWR) began preparing updated water use regulations to mitigate water depletion due to overconsumption, which went into effect in 2002. In Eastern NC, 15 counties were affected by the new regulations, including Martin County, which was required to decrease its dependence on the Cretaceous Aquifers, the main water supply throughout the region, by 75% no later than 2016. Facing a substantial loss, coupled with growing demands for the already depleted water resources, The Wooten Company helped Martin County join with other surrounding water system operators in the area to form the Martin County Regional Water and Sewer Authority (MCRWASA) to develop solutions to compensate for the decreased water source.

The resulting solution involved a 6-year study/planning/community outreach and design period to complete engineering for the construction of a new water intake to be fed raw water from the Roanoke River near Williamston, NC. Further complicating the study, no other water treatment plants had been designed and constructed to operate on a free flowing river this close to a salt water estuary. After extensive pilot testing and water quality analysis to prove the feasibility of the project, MCRWASA moved forward with construction of the 2 MGD facility to serve two eastern NC county water districts, as well as the Town of Williamston.