Haw River Assembly Archives

25 Years of Accomplishments for HRA!

Paddling the Haw — Route and Flow Information

Haw River Facts

Haw River Issues and Impacts

Questions and Answers about Algae

Peaceful Coexistence with Beavers

Siler City Permit Comment Deadline Extended to Jan 31


The Rocky River is a beautiful small river that flows through western Chatham County before joining the Deep River (our sister river in the Upper Cape Fear watershed). It is one of the most biologically diverse streams in NC and is home to the endangered Cape Fear Shiner. It has long suffered from nutrient pollution from Siler City’s waste water treatment plant, and poultry processing wastewater, resulting in algae blooms and fish kills.  Siler City has requested a change in their Wastewater Treatment plant permit that would allow the new poultry processing plant, Mountaire, to send their untreated wastewater to be treated at the public wastewater treatment plant. This permit currently has no limit of the amount of nitrogen that is discharged and has no way to treat nitrogen at the plant. The proposed permit would allow the wastewater treatment plant to discharge inadequately treated water in the waterways with no nitrogen limitation until 2023. A public hearing was held in Siler City last week with most speakers opposing the permit.  The proposed change could have devastating effects on the Rocky River and the Cape Fear watershed. The public comment deadline has now been extended to Thursday January 31. You can submit comments to Mike Templeton at

Read more and see our talking points at


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General Swine Permit Renewal: Submit Comments by March 4th!

The background:

  • A state “general permit” determines how most of the 9.5 billion gallons of waste from  North Carolina’s nearly 10 million hogs is handled.
  • That state permit is being revised and renewed for a new five-year term  
  • A civil rights case Waterkeeper Alliance and other environmental groups settled with the state informed proposals in the draft permit.

Why this is important:

  • Waste is kept in unlined open cesspools, and sprayed on nearby cropland. The risk: Flooding, hazardous air emissions, and groundwater and surface water contamination.
  • In almost half the areas with the highest density of swine operations, 85 percent of neighbors depend on well water.
  • No publicly available records show when or how much waste is sprayed, what types of crops are receiving the waste, and if crops can absorb nutrients in that waste.
  • Industrial swine operations are concentrated in communities of color.
  • The North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation, over Gov. Cooper’s veto, limiting the property rights and legal remedies for neighbors harmed by swine operations.

The process:

The big picture of what we’re asking for:

  • Smithfield Foods, the multinational company that makes hundreds of millions off this industry, and other corporations that contract with North Carolina operations for swine production, should have responsibility for managing the waste produced by the animals they own.
  • The NC Department of Environmental Quality needs to either collect or require the collection of data required to assess hog waste pollution on a large-scale basis.

Specific asks:

  • Mandatory groundwater monitoring when there’s evidence of off-site impacts
  • Required use by swine operators of a formula, which was created at great taxpayer expense, to evaluate the risk of phosphorus pollution when animal waste is applied to cropland.
  • Monthly electronic submission of reports on records of land application of waste, cropping, stocking, and soil or lagoon sampling.

What we’re asking you to do:


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Have a Sustainable Holiday Meal!


Turkey or other meat on your holiday menu? Show your appreciation for environmentally conscious farmers who raise meat sustainably using traditional techniques. Corporate-controlled industrial animal operations are one of the leading contributors to water pollution across North Carolina. But there are farmers throughout our state striving to provide high-quality food without harming their local communities. And they deserve our thanks and our business.

Please choose to make your holiday meals even more special by purchasing from true family farms and pledging to buy sustainably and humanely raised meat. And when you make your purchase, be sure to thank the farmer for taking steps to protect our environment. Take the PLEDGE for sustainably raised meat and see the big list of sustainable livestock farmers in the Haw Watershed that you can buy from!

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Save the Date: Wild & Scenic Film Festival!

September 6th – Carrboro Century Center – 6:30pm

The Haw River Assembly is bringing the nationally recognized Wild & Scenic Film Festival to Carrboro! Join us for a night of environmental and adventure films that depict the beauty of the natural world, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. The films inspire activism and call us all to protect the places we love.

We have several sponsorship opportunities available for local businesses! Check out our 2018 Wild & Scenic Sponsorship Packet and email for more information.

Visit our event page for tickets and more info:

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The 29th Haw River Learning Celebration

Support the Haw River Learning Celebration – Volunteers and Donations Needed!

Join the Haw River Learning Celebration Volunteer Crew! Volunteer Registration is now open.

2018 Learning Celebration Volunteer Registration Form

Help us raise $5,000 to keep the Learning Celebration Flowing! Donate today!

2018 Learning Celebration dates:

Bynum – Sept 22-28

Saxapahaw – Sept 29- Oct 5

Camp Guilrock – Oct 7-12

Read More:

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