Toxic Algae and More

The following are two update to items I recently covered.

First, regarding algae in the Chowan River, the State’s newly renamed Department of Environmental Quality (goodbye Natural Resources) monitoring has identified harmful algae in the Chowan River.  A Department news release “encourages the public to avoid contact with large accumulations of the algae and prevent children and pets from swimming or ingesting water in an algal bloom”. While it has received some attention in the media, it’s largely the actions of Sound Rivers who raised attention to this problem intersecting health, safety and the environment.  We owe a thanks for their efforts.

Second, the recently passed State budget extends the Solar Bee experiment in Jordan Lake to 2018. As reported in the news, an additional $1.5 million was budgeted to keep these mixers in the lake while delaying rules passed in 2009 that keep pollution out of the lake.  Preliminary indications are that these devices offer little promise for helping improve water quality in the lake mainly because they don’t keep pollution from reaching the lake.  To keep the pollution flowing, Session Law 2015-246 was passed to prohibit local governments from early adoption of measures intended to clean the Jordan. Instead local governments in the Jordan Watershed must wait until August 2020 to require developers meet the Jordan clean-up measures. This portends a more degraded lake that’s been listed as impaired since 2002 and serves as a drinking water source for 300,000 people in the triangle.

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