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
Due to new Covid concerns, the in-person Pittsboro Town Board Meeting on Monday July 26, will be very brief, with all items moved or, in the case of the public hearings, be opened, then continued, to their next meeting BY ZOOM ONLY on August 9.
Brief meeting (as required by law) will be on Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m.at Historic Chatham Courthouse. New Meeting Date by zoom on Monday August 9, 7 p.m. It is expected that the August 9 meeting will include the Public Hearing on the Development Agreement and discussion of the North Village Small Area Plan. See our talking points and more info at https://hawriver.org/river-issues/chatham-park/
Our Chance to Speak Out for Stronger PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane Standards for our Waters!
This is a process that only happens every three years, and is our opportunity to push the state to set stronger protections for surface waters. 1,4- Dioxane is on the list of new standards being proposed. The proposal is to set an standard for 80 ug/L for non-water supply watersheds and 0.35ug/L for water supply watersheds. Setting a standard of 80 ug/L will not be protective enough to meet the downstream standard of 0.35ug/L in a continuous, interconnected river system. In the Haw, Greensboro discharges into a non-water supply watershed, but just miles downstream, Pittsboro pulls from a water supply watershed. Confusing? Yes! This is the same water body and these designations should be set to protect the most sensitive use downstream.
E.Coli is also on the list of new standards. Currently the proposal is to set an E.Coli standard based on the 2012 EPA recommendations, but only for 19 counties in Western North Carolina. This is unacceptable. This standard should be applied statewide to protect all North Carolinians who swim, fish, and play in our state’s waters. What is missing from this list of proposals is PFAS. There are currently no proposals to set a surface water standard for PFAS. North Carolina has gained national attention due to the PFAS crisis in our state, and it’s past time for our state agencies to set protective standards for PFAS as a class for our surface waters.
It’s summer, and a great time to head to your favorite swimming, wading or tubing spot. We’re monitoring favorite swimming places on the Haw River and at Jordan Lake this summer. Sites get a green swimmer logo for SAFE and a red logo for UNSAFE based on E-coli counts.
For the weekend of July 23-25 all of the sites we monitor had safe results (chart at left). Remember: Water quality can change quickly after storms – never swim in floodwaters!
We publish the Swim Guide results each Friday in our E-newsletter (sign up on our home page) or look for it on our website, or Facebook and Instagram pages. You can subscribe to text updates by texting HAW to (844) 956-1139. Download the Swim Guide app for free on your smartphone. See more info at https://hawriver.org/swim-guide/
NCDEQ has used it’s authority to reissue the denial of the stream crossing permit for the MVP Southgate project. This followed an original denial letter in August of 2020 and a federal court hearing that ruled NCDEQ had the authority to deny the permit. This is a huge win for impacted community members, and communities in the Dan and Haw River watersheds.
Haw River Assembly, represented by Southern Environmental Law Center, has been approved to join the case to defend NC Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to deny the 401 permit. That decision, denied in August of 2020, was based heavily on the likelihood of MVP mainline not being successfully completed due to ongoing legal challenges, ballooning costs, and environmental violations. These challenges were also faced in the Atlantic Coast pipeline project, which was canceled and abandoned earlier this summer.
Additionally, MVP Southgate is now THREE YEARS behind schedule. The mainline project is four years behind schedule and $2.5 Billion over budget. These pipelines face an increasingly uncertain future. To read the full blog for MVP Southgate updates, click here.
North Carolina Agreement with Greensboro Violates Laws
A legal challenge of the state’s agreement with Greensboro over this toxic pollutant was filed on April 9, 2021 in the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Haw River Assembly. The agreement by state regulators with the City of Greensboro allows increased discharges of cancer-causing 1,4-dioxane from factories that discharge waste water into the city’s sewage treatment plant. That wastewater goes into the Haw River and then the Cape Fear – the drinking water source for nearly one million people. Read more at https://hawriver.org/14-dioxane-in-greensboro
UPDATE: On July 2 Greensboro notified the state DEQ and downstream that it had found high levels of 1,4-dioxane in treated wastewater from its TZ Osborne Wastewater Treatment Plant. The discharge was into South Buffalo Creek at levels 20 times higher than EPA’s health guidelines. South Buffalo Creek, is a tributary of the Haw River. The Town of Pittsboro was notified, as it is the only municipality in the watershed that uses the Haw as its drinking water source. (Fayetteville, further downstream on the Cape Fear River was also notified.) Preliminary sampling results showed that levels of the likely carcinogen ranged from 543 parts per billion to 687 parts per billion in the wastewater. The EPA’s drinking water health advisory level is 35 parts per billion; in surface water the level is 0.35 parts per billion. Read more in North Carolina Health News
PFAS NEWS: Go to our Industrial Contaminants webpage to read about PFAS contamination in the Haw River, and our ongoing legal action to clean up PFAS discharges from Burlington.