This lake house on the North Carolina-Virginia border is actually not a home at all -- here's what's inside

LAKE GASTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lake Gaston, on the North Carolina and Virginia border, is a busy place during the warmer months for anyone looking to get away.

It's also a popular spot for retirees. The more than 20,000-acre lake is surrounded by homes and is buzzing with jet skiers and boats most of the year.

But, there is one home that stands out on Lake Gaston. It's not due to the unique architecture or size of the lake house, but rather it's the giant operation that goes on inside the home.

"It's actually a pumping station," said Stephen Motley, Engineering Division Manager of Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities. "We're permitted to pump 60 million gallons of water from Lake Gaston to the City of Virginia Beach. This is the water supply for the City of Virginia Beach."

There are five large pumps inside the facility and the water travels more than 70 miles away through a pipeline before being treated and delivered back to the City of Virginia Beach.

"We can pump 60 million gallons a day. Today, we're probably pumping 20 million," Motley said.

The city put the pump station into operation in January of 1998 but the project started in the early '70s with studies, permit reviews, court battles and rulings that Lake Gaston was the best choice as the water supply.

Neighbors didn't want a noisy or massive pump station on the lake, so, planners came up with the solution of making it blend into the surroundings as a lake house.

Inside, there are concrete blocks and hoods all to minimize sound. In addition, the wet well and pump are submerged to minimize the noise.

Disguised architecture is something cities are doing more and more of as they plan infrastructure.

"The City of Alexandria has a soccer field or complex built on top of their wastewater storage tanks that are currently in operation today," Motley said.

Motley said the City of Virginia Beach will soon put a wastewater storage tank under one of its parks with plans to build a skate park on top.

Raleigh even has it's own hidden public utility building and thousands of drivers pass by daily.

It's a home on busy Wade Avenue, which is a main artery into downtown Raleigh. The home is actually one of the City of Raleigh's water pump stations.

There's also the more obvious forms of a company's attempt to blend in, such as with cell towers disguised as trees; however, when it comes to security at these disguised buildings, there is nothing hidden about that.

"We have cameras all over," Motley said. "We never have any issues here with any kind of vandalism or anything along those lines and there is staff here they live on site."

A site that has so much hidden in plain view.
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