The Southern Environmental Law Center today notified the City of Burlington that it intends to file a lawsuit, on behalf of the Haw River Assembly and the Cape Fear River Watch, if the city does not act within 60 days to prevent additional raw sewage from spilling out of the city’s sewers into the Haw River and local streams.
In January 2014, 3.5 million gallons of untreated wastewater spilled from Burlington’s wastewater collection system directly into the Haw River. A total of twenty spills discharged an additional 239,351 gallons of raw sewage into the Haw River and its tributaries in 2013. Of those 20 documented spills in 2013, only two resulted in the state assessing civil penalties.
“Since the state isn’t protecting the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the Haw River, Jordan Lake, and the Cape Fear River for clean drinking water, we’ll take legal action unless Burlington acts to limit the risk posed by its repeated untreated sewage spills,” said Julie Youngman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the citizen groups.
” The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to action to save rivers that are at a critical tipping point”, said Peter Raabe of American Rivers. “Pollution is choking the Haw River and without a meaningful cleanup plan that addresses the sources of pollution, the drinking water supplies for one million people will continue to be at risk.”
The Haw River is threatened by polluted runoff– rainwater that picks up pollution as it flows over roads and parking lots – and sewage leaking from outdated and overtaxed wastewater pipes. This pollution, containing excess nitrogen and phosphorous, has caused large algal blooms in Jordan Lake, a major drinking water reservoir, which impacts the health of people and fish. The cleanup plan for the river has been delayed and weakened over the last three years.
Now, instead of addressing the causes of the pollution, some municipalities and developers want to install 36 huge “mixers” into the Jordan Lake Reservoir in an attempt to reduce algae. American Rivers and its partners called on the North Carolina General Assembly to stop the delay and clean up the Haw River by implementing the original 2009 Jordan Lake Reservoir Nutrient Management Strategy, commonly called the ‘Jordan Lake Rules’. Read the Haw River Assembly comments about SolarBees to the US Army Corps.
“The clock started ticking on the state and federal mandate to clean up the pollution in the river and Jordan Lake back in 2002, when it made the federal “Impaired Waters List”, said Elaine Chiosso, the Haw Riverkeeper for Haw River Assembly. “It took seven more years to draft and pass these rules in 2009, and since then the state’s legislature has been delaying and weakening them. Clean water is essential to our lives and communities. It’s time to implement the full rules”
Read more in the “Haw River Factsheet“
To take action, send a letter to your NC legislator asking them to re-instate the Jordan Lake rules now to clean up our waters (find out the contact info at: Who Represents Me) Use this Action Alert and sample letter
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Join us to kick off the Saturdays in Saxapahaw Summer Music Series and celebrate the Haw River!
Live Music, Kayak Raffle, River Monitoring, Guided Canoe Rides for Kids, River issue and environmental info, Farmer’s Market, Haw River T-shirts, Food Trucks and More!!!!
No admission charge, but donations gratefully accepted to support the projects of the Haw River Assembly.
The 24th Haw River Clean-Up brought 242 volunteers out to 17 sites where they pulled out 368 bags, 35 tires and a LOT of other junk, getting the trash out of the river from the headwaters down to Jordan Lake. The river got the spring cleaning it needed after a tough winter of flooding that brought a lot of new trash in from stormwater off of urban streets, and the junk people throw over bridges and into ravines. The water quality ad wildlife are in much better shape due to their efforts!
The Haw River Clean-Up was sponsored by local businesses who care about clean water. Our thanks to these businesses who have already become sponsors: Additions Plus * Auto Pro * Alicia Ravetto, Architect * Benjamin Vineyards and Winery * Bish Enterprises * Carolina Brewery * Chimneys Plus and Gutter Solutions * Cure Nursery * Crosswinds Boating Center at Jordan Lake * Furniture Lab * Haw River Canoe and Kayak Co. * Lynn Hayes Realty * Mellow Marsh * Mystery Brewing Company * Pittsboro Animal Hospital * Saxapahaw General Store * Swanson and Assoc.* * Dr. Rouse Wilson DDS * Weaver Street Realty *
Thanks for logistical support to NC DOT, Chatham County Solid Waste, Saxpahaw Rivermill Properties, Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company, and Carolina Canoe Club.
Join the growing movement to RE-THINK Chatham Park. HRA does not believe that the enormous 7120 acres between Pittsboro and Jordan Lake (and the Haw) should be re-zoned as requested by the developers. A city of 55,000 would have multiple negative impacts on our waters – including Jordan Lake, the Haw River and Robeson Creek. Please join us and the many groups and individuals working together as “Pittsboro Matters” for a better vision for our community. Ask the Pittsboro Town Board to consider all impacts to our area -including water resources and pollution – before making decisions that could impact us forever. For more information go to: PittsboroMatters.org
To see a detailed slide show by the Haw Riverkeeper of the impacts Chatham Park could have on our waters – both water quality and quantity, go to Water Issues – Chatham Park
Want a yard sign to display like this one? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pickup.
You can make a donation for the Pittsboro Matters campaign, through HRA online – go to Support