News About the Catawba River
Recent news relating to water in the Catawba-Wateree River basin is summarized below. Catawba Riverkeeper newsletters are archived at Catawba Riverkeeper Newsletter Archives, http://www.catawbariverkeeper.org/News/newsletters. Information organized by substantive issue is available at Catawba Riverkeeper Current Issues. Links to specific geographical areas of the basin can be found in the right navigation column. If you would like to receive periodic updates about the Catawba-Wateree River, you can follow Catawba Riverkeeper on Twitter (@CRFRiverkeeper), friend "Catawba Riverkeeper" on facebook, or like "Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation" on facebook.
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
HOWEVER, ASKS FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO RE-EVALUATE CLASSIFICATIONS IN 18 MONTHS
On Saturday, April 16th 68 volunteers removed more than 3.5 tons of trash from the shores of Lake Wateree.
Catawba Riverkeeper Submits Coal Ash Risk Classification Comments for Allen (Lake Wylie) and Marshall (Lake Norman)
DEQ risk classifications will determine whether or not sites have to be cleaned up
Catawba Riverkeeper Files Motion to Protect Mountain Island Lake from Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Pollution
Duke appeals Riverbend permit, Catawba Riverkeeper (represented by Southern Environmental Law Center) files to intervene, especially given that CRF is still a plaintiff in two active lawsuits regarding Riverbend
BREAKING: RESIDENTS NEAR COAL ASH PONDS RECEIVE LETTERS SAYING 'DO NOT DRINK' ADVISORY LIFTED FOR THEIR DRINKING WATER WELLS.
STATE ERRS IN LIFTING DO NOT DRINK ORDERS AS WELLS HAVE 10s TO 100s TIMES MORE METALS LEVELS COMPARED TO PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS; CONTAMINATION HAS RENDERED WELLS NOT “SUITABLE FOR CONSUMPTION” BY STATE’S OWN DEFINITION
15 volunteers clean up one of Charlotte’s major urban sub-basins of the Catawba River.
Allen (Lake Wylie) and Marshall (Lake Norman) will be 'low' or 'intermediate' risk, though DEQ staff had internally recommended a 'high' rating
U.S. Forest Service asking for comments as it evaluates Wilderness Study Areas in Upper Basin
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation Launches Partnership with South Carolina 4-H and 4-H Science on the Move
New partnership aims to develop robust water education program highlighting the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.
Student volunteers clean-up coves near Riverbend Access on Mountain Island Lake.
York County Planning Commission considering a way to limit development around Lake Wylie and its watershed
The planning commission reviewed the proposed Lake Wylie Watershed Overlay map as a means of limiting development near the Lake.
Bill 765 eyes changing groundwater standards for metals associated with coal ash after hundreds of violations around Duke Energy coal ash sites
Worst environmental rollback bill in years is on Gov. McCrory's desk and will become law without his veto
During final deliberations on rule, Riverkeeper Sam Perkins discussed why strong rule is needed in a place like the Catawba-Wateree River basin.
Parallel action (separate from lawsuit Riverkeeper plaintiffs) another attempt disingenuous attempt by NC DEQ (formerly NC DENR) to let Duke Energy off with minuscule fine and no cleanup requirement
Details and maps the issue of land application of sewage sludge in North Carolina
NC DEQ (formerly DENR) reduces proposed fine 98%, seeks to stop enforcement at all 14 coal ash sites statewide
Forty-five volunteers turn out to two sites for second annual Wateree Riversweep
We recently had a chat with Emilee Syrewicze, the new Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper. She filled us in on the state of the basin, how we can help improve it, and her favorite places to paddle along its shores.
Franklin Woods, Gardner Woods, Garner Park and Sedgefiled neighborhoods near Duhart's Creek on Lake Wylie are coming together to fight the most recent (of many) attempts to build a big-box store in an environmentally sensitive location.
The program teaches under-privileged and inner-city youth about the natural environment as well as water safety and kayak skills. The kids are then put ON the Catawba River to see and experience everything they learned!
Carolinas experiencing among worst drought conditions in southeast
Includes provisions for PCB testing and public notification
It has been found that kale contains heavy metal elements that are poisonous to your body
Great turnout Saturday at Cabela's in Fort Mill, South Carolina
Duke Energy hires a professional liar to represent their interests
July 2nd spill major concern for Lake James residents and killed 400 fish in 120-yard creek section, plus many more over two miles of North Fork Catawba River
Tuesday night state leaders told a crowd of concerned homeowners they're testing the groundwater near Duke coal ash ponds and miles away from the sites to determine if Duke Energy or Mother Nature is to blame.
Residents near Duke Energy coal ash ponds came to a meeting Tuesday evening for answers. Instead, they got conflicting science lessons.
Google plans to build its first new U.S. data center in eight years at an aging coal plant in rural Alabama, the search engine giant announced Wednesday at a press conference outside of the new site. The data center in Jackson County will cost $600 million to build and will create 100 jobs for the region.
When we think of the Neuse River, most of us conjure up images of leafy banks, sandy beaches and placid waters ideal for canoeing and kayaking, not thousands of dead fish floating on the surface.
Building on the momentum of coal ash excavation work already underway at several Carolinas sites, Duke Energy today recommended full excavation of an additional 12 coal ash basins in North Carolina. The material would be safely reused in lined structural fills or permanently disposed in lined landfills. While this is a step in the right direction, we need to further the clean-up efforts in the Catawba River Basin.
Additional sites bring commitment to about half of sites in state, but sites with majority of remaining ash and with majority of contaminated drinking water wells remain uncommitted for cleanups
Neither industry nor environmentalists are happy about a new Environmental Protection Agency rule to manage coal ash, details of which were heard by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Wednesday.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled last week that the state’s recently enacted coal ash law allows Duke Energy until 2029 to complete its cleanup of coal ash sites in the state.
North Carolina's highest court ruled Thursday that Duke Energy has years to clean up leaking coal ash dumps as outlined by a new state law.
Of the 224 contaminated wells identified as of June 9th, more than half surround Allen (Lake Wylie) and Marshall (Lake Norman)
Duke Energy cleared a major hurdle June 5, 2015, in its plan to bury toxic coal ash in permanent landfills with the issuance of state permits to operate the coal ash facilities in Lee and Chatham counties.
A plan to put no-wake zones along the Catawba River is making waves.
A new $15,000 fitness trail for the Catawba River Greenway in Morganton was donated by the Morrison Family, owners of Molded Fiber Glass Companies (MFG).
Wells Fargo, Disney employees turned out Saturday morning to clean unnamed tributary of Briar Creek
Allen (Wylie), Marshall (Norman) sources of majority of wells contaminated by coal ash
On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, 16 volunteers put on cleanup show for those enjoying Wateree.
Court Temporarily Enjoins N.C. Mining and Energy Commission from Accepting or Processing Fracking Permits
Lawsuit Contends Legislative Appointments to the Commission Violate Separation of Powers in North Carolina Constitution
These NPDES permits are the first up for renewal since the 2014 Dan River coal ash spill and are for all three sites in a 29-mile span of the Catawba River: Allen (Lake Wylie), Marshall (Lake Norman) and Riverbend (Mountain Island Lake
Letters sent to Duke Energy's neighbors after DENR's testing reveals contamination of groundwater wells.
A longtime voice in the effort to protect and improve the Catawba River basin is stepping down. Rick Gaskins, the executive director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, leaves in June.
The NC General Assembly is proposing to gut the law (SEPA) that requires consideration of environmental costs and benefits when public money is spent or public land is used. This law has helped us expose wasteful projects that would harm the Catawba River and allowed us time to work out a better solution, including unnecessary inter-basin transfers and wasteful highway projects that would increase sprawl.
The root cause of many of the water quality problems (as well as air quality problems) in our region is bad growth practices - SRAWL. The article below explains some of these issues. CRF has been advocating to encourage smart growth and stop bad growth by working with local governments to develop zoning ordinances that incentivize low-impact development and by working with Clean Air Carolina and Southern Environmental Law Center to challenge projects (such as the proposed Garden Parkway Toll Road) that encourage sprawl.
Creek visibly cleaner after 25 volunteers remove shopping carts, tires and dozens of bags of trash.
Volunteers, Riverkeeper, others unanimously oppose inadequate permits for coal ash discharges on Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake and Lake Wylie
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has hired Emilee Syrewicze to serve as its new Executive Director. Emilee will begin work on April 15. Rick Gaskins, the long-time Executive Director for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation will be leaving the organization in June.
In 2015, every water quality permit in the North Carolina section of the Catawba River basin is up for review and potential renewal. If you have a problem discharge near you, this is your opportunity to get the permit limits tightened or the discharge stopped.
A Federal Court dealt what is likely the final killer blow to the controversial Garden Parkway, a proposed toll highway project near Charlotte.
A reflection of what has happened and where we need to go to address one of the most grave threats -- coal ash -- to our waterways.
Lake Wateree Covekeepers, Citizens Stand Up for Water Quality Regulations at Planning and Zoning Board Meeting
Agenda item considered eliminating buffers, other protections for Kershaw County
As State officials return from the holidays and begin sifting through all of the information being generated about the coal ash ponds in North Carolina, it is becoming apparent that the problem is bigger than previously believed, and that very little is know about how whether the contamination from the ash ponds will affect drinking water wells or other water supplies.
EPA's waste designation of coal ash -- years in the making -- allows state/utility oversight, leaving coal ash in place and using ash as unlined structural fill.
According to a press release from the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has given Duke permission to lower the level of waste in the ash ponds at the Marshall coal-fired power plant in Catawba County (on Lake Norman) in order to repair a pipe in the dam structure.
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation comments on the water monitoring plan (or lack thereof) for a granite quarry application.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation has received results from its September polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) testing of fish tissue on Lake James.
On September 19, at the location of the historic Tuckaseegee Ford of the Catawba River, high school students and the staff of Peter Bell, CPA helped the Catawba Riverkeeper staff pick up trash in kayaks.
Saturday, October 4, was a beautiful day for volunteers to pick up trash from around Lake Wylie. Over 1,000 people came out to 14 different locations to pick up approximately 29,000 pounds of trash. For the first time, kayaks were used to gather trash in shallow areas that are not easily accessible with a larger boat.
The NC Big Sweep in Lincoln County on Saturday, October 11, was our most successful NC Big Sweep to date! We had the largest number of boat captains and volunteers participate (80), we were able to clean up more sites than ever before (28), and we removed more trash than at previous events.
Organized cleanup a monumental success as 45 volunteers remove 95 bags, 27 tires, and much more
In collaborative effort with NC DENR, channel catfish from each arm of lake collected for complete PCB analysis
If you have ever wanted to learn more about the ability of ordinary citizens to stop pollution using the Clean Water Act, but haven't had time to attend one of our Covekeeper or Water Watch classes, now you is your chance to do on-line learning from the comfort of your home.
Many alligators have been seen on the Catawba River over the years, but they generally are either caught or unable to survive the winter.
Catawba Riverkeeper settled its lawsuit in August 2012
NBC Charlotte I-Team Investigator, Stuart Watson, takes a deeper look into the coal ash controversy. Click on the play button on the video player below to watch this special edition of FlashPOINT (23 minutes).
Charlotte, NC – A NO SWIMMING advisory was issued Wednesday for a portion of Lake Wylie in Charlotte after approximately 800 gallons of sewage from a broken sewer line discharged. Bacteria levels have returned to normal.
Conservation Coalition (including CRF), working since last September, successfully challenge major zoning changes on Lake James in hopes of preserving the progress made by the 2004 Conservation District Development Plan
On May 9 & 10, My Aloha Paddle and Surf, in partnership with Visit Lake Norman, hosted the Stand Up for the Catawba Lake Norman SUP paddleboard race and raffle at Port City Club in Cornelius. The Elite and Recreational races were sanctioned by the World Paddle Association (WPA) and followed by a luau.
On May 9, Charlotte airport officials indicated that they do not have an immediate use for coal ash at the airport, which jeopardizes plans to move coal ash from leaking unlined coal ash impoundments at the Riverbend power plant.
Approximately 3,000 pounds of trash cleaned out, dozen rain barrels sold!
On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Governor McCrory released draft legislation that purports to address North Carolina’s growing problem with toxic coal ash waste. The general public became aware of this issue after the February 2nd spill of 39,000 tons of the toxic sludge into North Carolina’s Dan River. Unfortunately, the Governor's proposal is not the type of legislation that is needed or that the public has been demanding.
Power outage leaves 73,000 gallons released without final treatment step.
When it rains, Tega Cay Water Service still overflows, although sewer blockage responsible for overflow on March 11, which had no rain.
CRF's lawsuits remain active but ruling will aid case. The court decision overrules an Environmental Management Commission denial of a petition by North Carolina Waterkeepers to require the State to enforce the groundwater standards against Duke. Duke Energy must take immediate action to eliminate the sources of groundwater contamination that are currently violating water quality standards at all 14 of its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina, including the three coal ash sites along a 29-mile span of the Catawba River around Charlotte.
Paddles, Cleanups, Fundraisers, and Local Covekeeper/Water Watch Meetings Plentiful Now Through May
Hearing for Catawba Riverkeeper's lawsuit reveals settlement, which DENR asked to withdraw, might be modified or simply expanded to all NC coal ash sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Violation to Utilities Inc., notifying them of violations observed at the Tega Cay Water Services' Wastewater Collection and Transmission System (Tega Cay) during a joint inspection with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in December 2013.
Spill first noticed Sunday, spilled through Friday afternoon; site has two ponds on EPA list of 44 ponds nationwide with High Hazard Potential rating. Engineering reports and EPA analysis (included below) detail concerns years ago.
The contamination of drinking water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio is causing local water supplies to reassess the vulnerability of our water supplies. Although local water supplies have not had major disruptions in the past, they are vulnerable. “The reality is if whatever went into that lake is water soluble, nobody’s going to be able to do anything about it,” said Rusty Rozzelle, Mecklenburg County’s water-quality manager.
The Environmental Protection Agency, in a win for North Carolina environmental groups, has agreed to issue by December the federal government’s first rules on coal ash.
Chemical Disaster Reminds Us of Threats to Drinking Water Supply
The Publisher's Post in the January 2014 issue of GREATER CHARLOTTE BIZ emphasizes the importance of the Catawba River to the economy of the Charlotte Region. Although written before the recent contamination of the water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio, those events underscore the importance of taking action to protect our water supply.
Federal law requires states to review water quality standards every three years — North Carolina last did this in 2006. Now years behind, the NC is accepting comments on these standards although it is admits that it has no plans to change any standards until the end of 2015, at the earliest.
Charlotte Magazine named the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation as one of seven charities worth your dollar.
Lincoln County commissioners on Monday night voted against a planned 36-acre solar farm on Webbs Road at Lake Norman.
Drinking Water Contamination Studies Discussed at Meeting of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Scientists
Hundreds of pharmaceutical, other chemical, CAFO studies presented and discussed at SETAC annual meeting
The December issue of Greater Charlotte Biz featured the issues facing the Catawba-Wateree River and the role of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in addressing those issues.
Rick Gaskins, the Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, was the 2013 recipient of the James S. Dockery, Jr. Southern Environmental Leadership Award.
Another South Carolina Utility Agrees to Remove Coal Ash from River Shared by North and South Carolina
Santee Cooper will clean up coal ash near Myrtle Beach. In 2012, Catawba Riverkeeper settled suit with SCE&G to remove 2.4 million tons of coal ash from Catawba-Wateree River near Columbia.
The Catawba Riverkeeper will be a full party in a civil prosecution brought by North Carolina against Duke Energy for coal ash pollution at its Allen and Marshall plants on Lakes Wylie and Norman, Mecklenburg County Superior Court has ruled. The Southern Environmental Law Center sought to intervene on behalf of the Riverkeeper in the State’s action against Duke Energy. Duke Energy opposed the participation of the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Riverkeeper