Haw River Assembly protects the Haw River Watershed.

This includes nine hundred and twenty miles of streams feeding into the Haw along the 110 miles of the river, the 14,000 acres of Jordan Lake, and the plants, animals, and people who depend on the river. We work as advocates to stop pollution through with our Haw Riverkeeper, and are building a watershed community that supports clean water through our outreach, education and water quality monitoring programs

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NC Takes Action Against Greensboro and Reidsville For Polluting Haw River With Industrial Toxin

Press Release from Haw River Assembly


For Release: November 15, 2019



Emily Sutton, Haw Riverkeeper at Haw River Assembly


(573) 979-1038


NC Takes Action Against Greensboro and Reidsville For Polluting Haw River With Industrial Toxin


Pittsboro, NC—The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has taken the first steps toward holding the municipalities of Reidsville and Greensboro accountable for releases of the toxic compound 1,4-Dioxane into the Haw River basin earlier this year. 1,4-dioxane is used for a wide variety of industrial and manufacturing purposes. It causes liver and kidney damage and likely causes cancer.


According to a press release from the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the agency has “issued notices of violation to the wastewater pre-treatment programs for the cities of Greensboro and Reidsville for recent 1,4 dioxane discharges that violated water quality standards and the conditions of their wastewater permits.”


Haw Riverkeeper Emily Sutton responded on behalf of Haw River Assembly with the following statement:


“We are encouraged that upstream polluters may be held accountable for their permit violations earlier this year, however the releases of 1,4 dioxane expose a broader ongoing problem in the Haw River watershed and across the state that needs to be addressed.


Currently, wastewater treatment plants accept industrial toxins without adequate capability to remove them, so these toxins remain in or reenter the environment, where they continue to endanger downstream communities. DEQ should be setting limits for wastewater treatment operations that are protective of human health and keep toxic industrial compounds out of our surface waters and drinking water supplies. DEQ should also be requiring dischargers to disclose what is in their waste, as mandated by the Clean Water Act, and moving to control other substances known to harm public health. ”


1,4-Dioxane is one of many industrial toxins plaguing the Haw River basin and downstream drinking water users. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, or PFAS, are a class of chemicals that can cause serious illnesses. PFAS compounds have also been detected in the effluent in high levels from the wastewater treatment plants targeted by DEQ as well as other facilities.


Haw River Assembly recommends that wastewater treatment plants and companies that discharge PFAS or 1,4-dioxane be required to warn downstream communities when they have discharged toxins into drinking water sources. Additionally, industrial facilities should be removing toxic chemicals like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane from their waste before they send it to wastewater treatment plants that are not equipped to treat these chemicals. State regulators should be requiring dischargers to disclose what is in their waste, as mandated by the Clean Water Act, and controlling chemicals that are known to harm public health—like PFAS and 1,4-dioxane.



The Haw River Assembly is a 501(c)(3) non-profit citizens’ group founded in 1982 to restore and protect the Haw River and Jordan Lake, and to build a watershed community that shares this vision.

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HRA files 60 day Notice of Intent to Sue Burlington to Stop PFAS Contamination of the Haw River and downstream drinking water

On behalf of the Haw River Assembly, the Southern Environmental Law Center notified the City of Burlington on Thursday Nov. 7, 2019 of its intent to sue the city for its undisclosed and illegal PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) pollution of the Haw River, its tributaries, and Jordan Lake, the drinking water sources for Pittsboro, North Chatham County, Cary and Apex.

Testing also shows discharges of 1,4-dioxane from the facilities. PFAS and 1,4-dioxane can cause serious harm to people’s health.

If Burlington does not stop its illegal pollution within 60 days after receiving the notice, the Southern Environmental Law Center will sue Burlington on behalf of the Haw River Assembly. Through their pre-treatment programs, wastewater treatment plants have the authority to require changes in the waste received from industrial facilities, such as adequate pollution controls implemented at the industrial sources of the PFAS pollution.

“These compounds are known to be harmful to human health,” said Emily Sutton, the Haw Riverkeeper. “Downstream drinking water users have been exposed to contaminated drinking water for years. It’s time to stop the pollution at the source and protect all downstream users and the ecological integrity of the Haw River basin.”

Read the Press Release and the full Notice of Intent to Sue

See map of Burlington and PFAS sources HERE

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HRA Annual Meeting - Sunday Nov. 10

Haw River Assembly 2019 Annual Membership Meeting

Sunday, November 10, 2 – 5 pm

at the Old Mason Farmhouse at Jordan Lake

2700 Old Hope Valley Farm Rd. Chapel Hill 27517

(after you turn on to Old Hope Valley Farm Rd., continue on the gravel road for about 3 miles. The Mason House is at the end.)


Built in 1850, the Mason house was saved by the Army Corps when land was flooded for Jordan Lake, and rehabbed by Preservation NC. Our  Haw Riverkeeper, Emily Sutton, is the current resident/caretaker there and will be hosting our gathering.

Bring a potluck dish to share for an early dinner, and wear shoes to enjoy a walk to the lake. We’ll catch you up on water issues, elect the 2020  Board of Directors and have a chance to be with river friends, old and new!

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MVP Southgate --401 Permit Public Hearing on Nov.19

Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Extension” Public Hearing set for the 401 Permil for Critical Stream Crossings

WHEN:        6 PM to 9 PM, Tuesday, November 19, 2019 

WHERE:      Rockingham Community College Advanced Technologies Auditorium

                           215 Wrenn Memorial Road, Wentworth

The state has the authority to approve or deny this project based on the stream crossing permit, or the 401 certificate. We were dissapointed to hear that there would be only one hearing, rather than one in each county impacted, but we plan to coordinate as much carpooling and prep sessions as needed to make sure we do everything we can do get as much public engagement as possible.

Click HERE   for press release, talking points and info on comment letters

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NC DEQ denies critical permit for MVP

Department of Environmental Quality has denied the 401 certification permit (stream crossings) for the MVP Southgate project, a fracked gas pipeline proposal that would cross nearly one hundred streams and wetlands in the Haw River basin. With no Draft Environmental Impact Study published, MVP Southgate representatives have been denied this critical permit. They will be allowed to reapply after the Draft Environmental Impact Study has been reviewed. This denial and delay allows NC DEQ to retain their ability to deny or approve permits that have conditions dependent on the 401 certification.

MVP Southgate will reapply for this permit after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is released in July and reviewed. To be clear, this fight is not over. We are thankful that DEQ is asking for more information and refusing the approve a permit without adequate documentation like other states have done.  READ MORE


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