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State finds violations at Chapel Ridge golf course development

By Haw River Assembly
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005

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Outcry over mud in creeks

Pittsboro, NC - After months of outcry from citizens who have watched beautiful creeks in the rural forests of Chatham County turn brown from mud coming off of the Chapel Ridge construction site, we have been told that the state Division of Land Quality and Division of Water Quality have found violations of the sediment erosion controls and will ssue "Notice of Violations". The two creeks- Dry Creek and Brooks Creek - that are being impacted by the project both flow to the Haw River and then to Jordan Lake, where the state is working on new rules to reduce pollution.

The Haw River Assembly, a non-profit river protection organization, and many Chatham citizens are particularly outraged at what has happened to these creeks, because they had warned the county and state during the the planning/approval process that this steep land would not be suitable for the massive earthmoving that construction of a golf course and approximately 700 houses would require. Once the work began this past winter numerous mud flows have been seen in the creeks, and since early July, the waters have been a constant brown color with suspended sediment -- even between storm events.

"We are saddened that these creeks have been harmed in this way -and frustrated that it has taken this long for our concerns to be addressed. We urge that the consequences of these violations will be serious enough to stop damage from continuing to the creeks as this development is built, and that there will be efforts to restore them. Sediment controls at Chapel Ridge are obviously inadequate to protect these creeks -and the Haw River. Better controls need to be in place before the next storm. We hope this will send a message to other major developments starting up in Chatham County that they must take pollution controls more serious." said Elaine Chiosso, Executive Director of the Haw River Assembly.

There are approximately 20,000 new houses that have been approved in major developments in the Haw River watershed in northern Chatham County. Many will be built with waste water treatment systems that utilizes spray irrigation fields for the treated effluent. The Haw River Assembly and other citizen and neighborhood organizations have raised major concerns about the impact on water quality in the receiving streams from both construction and wastewater from these developments.

One of these, Meadowview, another 715 homes, is adjacent to Chapel Ridge and will also impact Brooks Creek and Dry Creek. Chatham County still does not have its own Sediment Erosion Control staff, although it has pledged to hire someone by October. Without its own personnel, Chatham relies on the the very stretched resources of the regional DLQ office in Raleigh.

Chapel Ridge is located on Old Graham Road about 7 miles north of Pittsboro. You can see the two creeks (downstream of Chapel Ridge) at bridge crossings on Old Graham Road.

Brooks Creek bridge is about 1 mile north of the intersection with Russell Chapel Road.
Dry Creek bridge is located about 4 miles beyond Brooks Creek on Old Graham Road about 1 mile past the Chapel Ridge entrance

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