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Senate approves legislation protecting North Carolina's lakes

Posted Thursday, June 2, 2005

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Late Tuesday night, on the heels of more than 2,000 public comments calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to protect Jordan Lake, Senators unanimously approved a bill providing protections for Jordan Lake, and drinking waters reservoirs statewide. Tuesday morning North Carolina Public Interest Research Group and the Haw River Assembly gathered at Jordan Lake to call for protections of the lake. That same evening Senators approved Senate Bill 981, the "Drinking Water Reservoir Protection Act."

"We applaud our Senators for taking an important step toward protecting the health of our drinking water reservoirs," says Christine Wunsche, NCPIRG Environmental Attorney. "Citizens statewide are concerned about the quality of our lakes and want to see our lakes protected. According to a recent poll, 89% of those surveyed want officials to protect drinking water lakes now, before they become polluted."

Senate Bill 981, the "Drinking Water Reservoir Protection Act," examines the condition of North Carolina's lakes, and requires the clean up of lakes that are already seeing signs of pollution, such as Falls Lake and Jordan Lake. In recent years, our lakes have suffered increasing levels of pollution being discharged from sewage treatment plants and running off from the increasingly developed landscape.

Jordan Lake, which provides drinking water to areas such as Apex, Cary, and Morrisville, is already experiencing serious pollution problems. Upper portions of the lake are already deemed impaired and based on water quality data, officials expect that the entire lake will soon be considered impaired. Falls Lake, Raleigh?s primary drinking water source, is also seeing early signs of impairment.

These lakes are experiencing excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, which lead to excessive algae growth. While some algae is a food source for fish, too much algae kills of aquatic life. The pollution also affects the taste and smell of drinking water, increasing treatment costs.

In addition to providing timelines and guidance for the clean up of lakes that are already polluted, the legislation requires a review of the condition of all of the state's drinking water reservoirs and creates a nutrient control level that will serve as an early detection of pollution problems. This allows officials to begin monitoring lakes instead of waiting until costly clean-up is necessary. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 48-0.

"Our lakes are where we go for a summer afternoon hike, where we fish, where go for a boat ride, where we get our drinking water," continues Wunsche. "The passage of Senate Bill 981 is an important step in preserving these lakes for future generations."


NCPIRG is a statewide public interest advocacy group, working to protect the environment, stop consumer rip-offs, and improve our democracy.

The Haw River Assembly is a grassroots organization working to restore and protect the Haw River and Jordan Lake through education, advocacy and monitoring projects.

Related info:
Haw River Assembly

e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page

Related info:
Haw River Assembly


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