Jordan Lake Solarbees Will Be Removed

DEQ secretary announces decision to discontinue SolarBee project

The state environmental department announced on May 5  that it will discontinue the SolarBee project after 21 months of data indicated no significant improvement in water quality.  We applaud the end to this expensive and ridiculous folly.  The battleground now shifts to getting the rules re-instated that reduce pollution flowing into Jordan Lake (from 8 counties).


The state  released its  assessment on whether Solarbees were improving water quality in the Morgan Creek and Haw River Arms of Jordan Lake last fall. The results for the August 2014 – August 2015 period showed no change in the amount of cholorphyll a, and the pH has actually gotten worse. There was also no change in the amounts of bluegreen v.s. green algae compared to control areas. “These preliminary results indicate that nutrient related water quality conditions did not significantly improve in areas of the lake where SolarBees were deployed.”    Read the full report

This project, mandated by the legislature with our tax dollars,  never made scientific sense as a solution to reducing algae growth in this vast  14,000 acre reservoir. It does nothing to stop the nutrient pollution that is flowing in  from upstream sources,  -the real problem – but keeps it flowing downriver into the Cape Fear. This past legislative session the General Assembly extended this costly folly until 2018, while delaying efforts to reduce pollution flowing into Jordan Lake.

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1,4-Dioxane in Haw River

And in Pittsboro’s Drinking Water

View the Powerpoint presentation given by Dr. Detlef Knappe from NCSU Pittsboro Town Board on Sept. 28 Dr. Detlef Knappe of NC State University presented his research concerning the presence of 1,4-Dioxane, an industrial solvent, in Pittsboro’s drinking water, which uses the Haw River as its source. Current treatment methods are not sufficient to remove this contaminant, which could have long-term risk factors.  Dr. Knappe  discussed  what is known to date about the possible upriver source of this chemical.  He made a  second presentation with some updates to the Chatham Conservation Partnership on January 21, 2016.  That presentation can be viewed here.

Major conclusions of Dr.Detlef’s presentations are:

•In the Cape Fear River watershed, multiple sources
of 1,4-dioxane exist in the uppermost reaches of
the watershed
•Elevated 1,4-dioxane concentrations detected in
almost the entire Cape Fear watershed
•1,4-dioxane concentrations at Pittsboro:
–Source water (Oct. 14 – Aug. 15): 16.3 μg/L  (avg.),        66μg/L (max.)
–Finished water (March 15 – April 15): 6.8 μg/L (avg.),  20μg/L (max.)
No measurable removal of 1,4-dioxane in water treatment plant (March 15 – April 15)

You can also view a National Science Foundation video on Dr. Knappe’s research on 1,4-Dioxane in the Haw River at http://www.nsf.gov/…/science_nation/capefearwatershed.jsp     Read a 2014 EPA factsheet about 1,4-Dioxane online.at the EPA website.

We are concerned not only about this chemical but what other industrial contaminants may also be in the Haw River, and in Pittsboro’s drinking water.

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Sludge in Our Waters

“Sludge In Our Waters” is a new report that investigates how industrial chemicals in some municipal wastewater sewage sludge applied to farmland are contaminating surface waters in North Carolina.  Drinking water sources downstream from these sludge fields are at risk.  Case studies in Chatham, Orange and Mecklenberg counties document this problem.

Sludge in our Waters

Elaine Chiosso, Haw Riverkeeper and Sam Perkins, Catawba Riverkeeper are the co-authors.  Accompanying the report is a new mapping tool that shows locations of permitted sludge fields in North Carolina; the map also has an overlay of river basins and other features. The report is intended to inform the public and policy makers about the potential pathways to human and environmental contamination from sludge applications,with recommendations for changing our current practices.

Read the Press Release here.


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Haw River Assembly Wins Injunction on Fracking Permits by North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission

May 20 , 2015    Wake County Superior Court today stayed a constitutional challenge to the state’s Mining and Energy Commission by the Haw River Assembly and a Lee County landowner pending a decision in the appeal of McCrory v. Berger or until further order of the court. During the stay, the MEC is enjoined from accepting or processing permit applications for drilling units and from creating any drilling units. This effectively reinstates the moratorium on fracking in North Carolina.  Read the full PRESS RELEASE about the injunction. Read the full Haw River v. MEC court order.

The lawsuit against the MEC charges that the commission violates the separation of powers provision of the North Carolina Constitution because a majority of the commission’s members are political appointees by the legislature, and that the fracking rules, created by an unconstitutional commission, are therefore null and void. (Read the  press release concerning the lawsuit and the full  legal complaint)

“Today’s decision stopped any immediate harm to North Carolina residents from a commission formed by the state legislature in violation of the separation of powers firmly established in our state constitution pending further court deliberations,” said John Suttles, the senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represented the Haw River Assembly and Lee County property owner Keely Wood Puricz before the court.


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Hike and Paddle the Haw!

Go to our Recreation page to find out about paddle access and hiking trails – and enjoy this beautiful river!

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