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.
Catawba County has scheduled a public forum to receive input on the proposed Highway 150 corridor plan will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue Base at 4011 Slanting Bridge Road, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Reporter Stuart Watson looks at the goals of the Catawba Riverkeeper/SELC lawsuits in NC, as well as how the settlement of their SC lawsuit is leading the way.
The power industry uses more water than any other sector of the US economy. Nearly all of this water is used for once-through cooling, an outdated process that uses enormous volumes of water and discharges it back into the environment at an alarmingly elevated temperature. In the process those cooling systems kill and injure much of the aquatic life near the intake pipe and the heated discharge water alters surrounding ecosystems, compounding the damage.
Catawba is the most stressed basin east of the Mississippi and is particularly stressed by water lost through thermoelectric production. Authors find 10% of basins stressed to supply their water demands.
Flyovers reveal improper waste storage at multiple sites, including at sites previously reported for violations.
Public Comment Period Closes Friday, September 20 -- Send in Comments!
Each year, Catawba Riverkeeper recruits volunteers to cleanup Cane Creek and the portion of the Catawba River near the Hwy 9 landing, which is located between Lancaster, SC and Ft. Lawn, SC.
The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper, moved to intervene in the state enforcement action pending in Mecklenburg County Superior Court against Duke Energy’s illegal coal ash pollution at six different locations across North Carolina. The motion highlights the pollution of the Catawba River and drinking water reservoirs by Duke Energy’s coal ash stored on the banks of Lake Norman and Lake Wylie at Duke Energy’s Allen and Marshall Plants.
Duke Energy and DENR proposed a sweetheart settlement that would allow Duke to indefinitely postpone correcting ongoing illegal discharges and indefinitely postpone cleaning up contamination from coal ash waste ponds, and public comments on proposed settlement are almost unanimously opposed to the settlement. Now it is up to DENR and the court to determine if the proposed settlement should be modified or scrapped.
Adding to the list of controversial laws made over the past few months, Governor McCrory signed a sweepingly deregulatory "reform" bill with provisions ranging from highway tree clearing to landfill construction to coal ash.
End-of-summer and fall seasons have oodles of opportunities to enjoy the Catawba, support it and help clean it up!
On August 16, the North Carolina Attorney General filed lawsuits against Duke Energy alleging that all of its coal-fired power plants in North Carolina were violating North Carolina law because of illegal discharges (seeps) and our contamination of groundwater. The State stated in its complaint that these violations "constitute a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of the people of North Carolina and serious harm to the water resources of the State."
The 12th Annual Lake Wylie Riversweep, organized by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, the Lake Wylie Covekeepers, and the Lake Wylie Marine Commission will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013.
The NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources has proposed a consent order that would allow Duke to continue to pollute Mountain Island Lake without a permit for seepages of hundreds of thousands of gallons per day of polluted water into the primary source of drinking water for Charlotte, Gastonia, Mt. Holly, Pineville, Matthews, Mint Hill and other areas. Catawba Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center are objecting to the proposed consent order.
A NC Judge ruled on Friday, August 9, that Catawba Riverkeeper may intervene in the Attorney General's lawsuits against Duke Energy relating to illegal discharges from coal ash ponds at the Riverbend Steam Station on Mountain Island Lake.
Storm water run-off is one of the primary causes of pollution in the Catawba Basin and we need creative solutions to address this problem. The following video highlights artistic and environmentally beneficial solutions to the storm water problem in other cities.
SCE&G reports that it has removed 280,000 tons of coal ash waste from the banks of the Wateree River pursuant to agreement in settlement of lawsuit with Catawba Riverkeeper.
Public comments needed on inadequate settlement proposed by DENR that lets Duke continue polluting Mt. Island Lake.
News coverage of the July 23rd press conference with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. regarding the Riverbend Ash pond seepage.
Comments being accepted on proposed settlement in the lawsuit the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources brought against Duke Energy for illegal pollution at Riverbend Steam Station.
Rick Gaskins will remain Executive Director
According to a recent survey, more than 75% of North Carolina citizens support current or more protective environmental standards and overwhelming oppose fracking.
If you haven't already done so and you live in North Carolina, please ask your let you State Senators and State Representatives in Raleigh know that they should vote down continued attempts to pass anti-environmental legislation. Currently
Catawba Riverkeeper visited Belmont Avenue Boys & Girls Club July 9, 2013 to kick off the Youth Kayaking Program.
Mother Jones listed the Catawba River as one of the 21 Most Vulnerable Rivers in America. This list is based on the conservation group American Rivers’ reports in 2012 and 2013 on which rivers face the greatest threat. The Catawba River was named due to the power plants in watershed that have dumped coal ash and scrubber residue into 551 acres of holding ponds.
Catawba Riverkeeper, Southern Environmental Law Center Efforts to Stop Duke Energy's Coal Ash Pollution of Mountain Island Lake Move to Federal Court
Suit filed in United States District Court in Charlotte on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation; follows a suit brought in Mecklenburg County state court by North Carolina against Duke Energy
SELC, on behalf of Catawba Riverkeeper, has moved to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the State of North Carolina over pollution from coal ash waste ponds at Duke Energy's Riverbend power plant on Mountain Island Lake.
The last twelve months have seen an extraordinary number of sewage spills. This page provides a database with records of spills of sewage and contaminates in the Catawba Waterbasin for the past year.
The editors of The Charlotte Observer published an editorial in the Sunday edition of the paper asking Duke Energy to clean up the coal ash waste ponds and related contamination at the Riverbend power plant on Mountain Island Lake.
On May 23, the State of North Carolina filed a second lawsuit alleging pollution of Mountain Island Lake from coal ash waste ponds at Duke Energy's Riverbend power plant. This new lawsuit was filed in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), where most of the 860,000 people live who drink water from Mountain Island Lake.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) claims to be increasing the pressure on Tega Cay Water Services (TCWS) to take action to stop repeated sewage spills. Catawba Riverkeeper opposed the renewal of theTCWS permit in 2010, but ultimately that challenge was resolved by adding permit revisions requiring TCWS to upgrade their system and stop sewage overflows by April 2011. Unfortunately, TCWS has been unable to stop the overflows of sewage into Lake Wylie.
On May 20, in response to a Notice of Intent to Sue filed by Catawba Riverkeeper and SELC, the State of North Carolina filed an amended complaint against Duke Energy for illegal discharges documented by Catawba Riverkeeper. These illegal discharges of arsenic and other toxic substances into Mountain Island Lake threaten the drinking water supply for approximately 860,000 people in the Charlotte area.
On May 15, 2013, Duke Energy reported a leak of of radioactive Tritium at the Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie. The available information raises more questions than answers.
High water levels in the lakes, and unusually high flows and fast-moving water in the riverine sections of the River, are combining to make the River unsafe for swimming and paddling. Trees, debris and sewage are being carried with the floodwaters. PLEASE DON'T ADD TO THE BURDEN OF ALREADY STRESSED EMERGENCY RESPONDERS BY DOING SOMETHING DUMB WHICH REQUIRES THEM TO COME RESCUE YOU!
Recent rains have lead to a rash of sewage spills, large amounts of trash in the streams and river, as well as flooding. This doesn't have to happen!
URGENT CALL TO ACTION – STOP THE UNDEAD TOLL ROAD. YOUR PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS NEEDED BY TUESDAY MAY 7.
Proposed legislation to fast-track environmental permitting and roll back local rules that mitigate flooding and stream erosion won approval from the N.C. Senate on May 2, 2013. Passage of this bill will have invalidate many local rules designed to deal with local water quality problems, including parts of Charlotte's post-construction stormwater ordinance and sedimentation rules.
Area water experts haven’t figured out why a substance banned decades ago seems to be showing up in local lakes. Nor, more importantly, are they sure how to fix the problem.
Four-session course will be held Thursdays starting May 23 at the Fort Lawn Community Center, an easy drive for anyone from Lake Wylie down to Lake Wateree.
In 2010 Catawba Riverkeeper challenged the renewal of the discharge permit for Tega Cay Water Service, Inc. (owned by Utilities, Inc.), and successfully fought for upgrades to Tega Cay's sewage system, but they system is still having too many sewage spills.
The Rock Hill Herald had a nice article encouraging people to protect the Catawba River. They did an excellent job of eloquently pointing out some of the reasons why it is important to have individuals and groups serving as a watchdog for the River.
American Rivers' 2013 Most Endangered Rivers list ranks the Catawba River as the fifth most endangered river in the United States primarily because coal ash waste ponds threaten the water supplies for the region.
On April 6, 2013, Catawba Riverkeeper Rick Gaskins received the Charlotte Sustainability Award for Water from Sustain Charlotte in recognition of all of the contributions of CRF volunteers, staff, board members, donors and our pro bono attorneys.
Update from Director of Technical Programs Sam Perkins
The Catawba Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmenatl Law Center filed a Notice of Intent to sue Duke Energy over unpermitted and illegal discharges of toxic waste from the Riverbend coal-fired power plant, which is on Mountain Island Lake.
Period ends 5:00 PM, March 27; Governor Nikki Haley requested from businesses comments on regulations that "unduly burden" the state economy
Treated municipal sewage sludge - that is, the solids from sewage treatment - may be causing illness in people up to a mile from where the sludge is spread on land.
Comment period closes 11:59 PM, Friday, March 1.
DHEC is soliciting comments on whether environmental regulations are too burdensome. Please submit comments supporting the need for environmental rules. Don't let SC throw out the baby with the bathwater.
TODAY (February 28, 2013) AT 2:00 PM, THE FULL SENATE WILL VOTE ON A SLIGHTLY REVISED N.C. SENATE BILL 76. Please contact your legislator to request that they vote against this bad bill.
According to the Morganton News Herald, the City of Morganton will not not receive a penalty for in connection with the 1.8 million gallon spill of sewage spill in January or the failure to provide proper notice of the spill.
Brown's Cove on Lake Wylie is filling with silt from the new development around it, including housing, construction of I-485 and a runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
An investigative report by WCNC reporter Stuart Watson is prompted by a 6th grade science project. WCNC report finds that arsenic levels could accumulate in sediment and periodically erupt into drinking water supply. A Duke University scientist describes the situation as a potential arsenic volcano.
Help us stop the elimination of North Carolina citizen commissions that provide a needed check on the power of the current administration and polluters. Please don't let the current adminstration turn North Carolina's citizen commissions into rubber stamps.
The USFS has set the meeting times and places (also listed below) for the start of their plan to revise the management plans for the Pisgah and Nantahala Forests in North Carolina. It is important that conservationists provide input into the revision of these management plans because the next 15 years of US Forest Service activities will be guided by the contents of the Plan. We need to be sure that water and other ecological considerations are given full consideration with other values as the Plan is developed.
Duke Energy announced that they will be closing the Riverbend (coal-fired) Steam Station ahead of schedule. They indicated that the plant will close by April 1, 2013. This is great news for the Catawba River and the air in the Charlotte region because the Riverbend power plant is one of the oldest and dirtiest plants in the Duke Energy system. We applaud Duke for the decision to close the plant early.
Archie DIxon lives in the shadow of Duke Energy's coal ash facility south of Belmont. He uses a private well, and he claims that pollution from Duke's Allen Steam Station is contaminating is drinking water. He has also noticed more airborne coal ash coating his buildings and vehicles. Here, Archie Dixon looks over his coal ash stained driveway at his home on South Point Road near Belmont
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the state Environmental Management Commission, Duke Energy and Progress Energy seeking the cleanup or shut-down of 14 ash pits that collect tons of waste from coal-burning power plants across the state.
The Seavibe Club at Olympic High School and Independence High School have been working with Catawba Riverkeeper since 2010 to conduct water quality tests in the Charlotte area. Students work under the direction of CRF Technical Programs Director Sam Perkins to test and report water quality of local streams and lakes.
Multiple state standards in both North Carolina and South Carolina will be set in 2013, and there will be plenty of opportunities for important public comment.
On December 12, 2012, the South Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing a decision in favor of Duke Energy that South Carolina had waived its right to issue (or deny) water quality certification for the 13 hyrdro-electric stations on the Catawba-Wateree River.
In the SC portion of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin, York, Chester, Fiarfield and Richland Counties have been upgraded to moderate drought status.
According to a WCNC report, Duke Power indicated that there is no point cleaning up the leaking ash ponds at the Riverbend Steam Station since they currently plan to close the plant (but not remove the ash ponds) in 2015.
NC Environmental Management Commission Exempts Groundwater under Coal Ash Ponds from Groundwater Standards
The N.C. Environmental Management Commission rebuffed an attempt by NC Riverkeepers to force Duke Energy and Progress Energy to clean up or shut down ash pits at coal-burning power plants.
The USDA Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is beginning the formal process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan. The plan will guide management of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests for about 15 years. Please help us monitor this process and advocate for wise stewardship of our forests.
Dr. Richard Franklin ("Frank") Rozzelle III, 80, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, as the result of a stroke. Frank had Catawba River water in his blood.
As we rush around in our daily lives, criss-crossing the basin, it is easy to overlook the beauty that is under our noses. Use your summer vacation to explore places in the Catawba basin that you've always wanted to visit but have never taken the time to visit.
Catawba Riverkeeper Technical Programs Director Sam Perkins discovered a fourth seep (leak) from the Riverbend coal ash ponds yesterday and has reported the new discovery to DENR and EPA.
Catawba Riverkeeper Technical Programs Director Sam Perkins discovered at least three seeps (leaks) into Mtn. Island Lake and one seep into Lake Wylie, which appear to originate from leaking coal ash ponds. These leaks from the ash ponds are unpermitted, unhealthy and illegal. They are of particular concern because the leaks discharge into drinking water reservoirs and because Duke Power does not test the leaking material for hazardous constituents.
Bobby Allison chose to live on Lake Norman because he likes to fish. However, recent development near his home has filled his cove with sediment. The problem is due to regulations that are inadequate to prevent sediment from leaving construction sites and inadequate to give regulators the authority to require polluters to fix the mess they create.
Although CRF does not endorse political candidates, we've been getting lots of questions about how conservation-minded candidates did in the 2012 election. Thus, we've reprinted the list the election results for each of the candidates endorsed by other environmental and conservation groups.
Residents around Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss and Lake Hickory can learn about water issues in the upper Catawba and how to protect their water.
Dr. Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University, penned the following Op Ed, which was published in the Raleigh News and Observer, stating "we may be saving our skies at the expense of our water."
Fecalcoliformilisticexpialidocious! Fly-over identifies the good, the bad and the ugly of CAFOs in the basin
Duke University researchers found high levels of arsenic, selenium and other toxic elements in coal ash effluents and in North Carolina lakes and rivers downstream from the settling ponds of coal-fired power plants. One of the lakes studied was Mountain Island Lake, which is the primary source of drinking water for Charlotte, Mt. Holly, Matthews, Mint Hill, Gastonia and other areas.
Conservation groups today asked the N.C. Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to require Progress Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Carolinas to clean up groundwater contaminated by old, unlined coal ash lagoons at 14 coal-fired power plants that have been leaking toxic substances for decades.
The latest issue of Lake Norman Magazine recognized CRF Staff (Sam Perkins) and Covekeepers (Cynthia Jones and Vicki Taylor) for their work to protect Lake Norman.
Over the past few weekends, there have been lake, river and stream cleanup events throughout the Catawba basin. The biggest single event was Lake Wylie Riversweep on October 6, which had over 1100 volunteers turn out to remove 16 tons of trash.
Enjoy a beautiful kayak tour of Lake James with the Catawba Riverkeeper and Lake James State Park at the old park. Tours begin at 10 AM and 1 PM.
The Triangle Expressway opened for business this year as North Carolina’s first modern toll road. It could be the state’s last toll road for a long time. Because of mounting opposition from environmental lawyers and Republican legislators, all five toll roads and bridges under development by the state Department of Transportation now face big challenges in the General Assembly or the courts – or both.
A report produced by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Environmental Law Institute, “The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard: An Assessment of Laws and Policies” gives NC and SC low grades for water conservation. North Carolina received "C" and South Carolina received a "C-".
As fall begins to color our beautiful state, thousands of visitors will travel to North Carolina to view…billboards? That’s what billboard companies and some state legislators would like you to believe.
Take A Child Outside Week is a program designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers and other caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, our goal is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration.
The U.S. House of Representatives is considering passage of a bill that many consider to be the most anti-evironmental bill ever. The bill takes many of the anti-environmental amendments that have been rejected over the past year and packages them into a single bill that would, among other things, largely exempt coal and coal waste from health-based regulation by EPA.
Every two years, the state and EPA update the list of impaired waters in the State - the 303(d) list. Once again, 100% of the waters in the state are classified as impaired because of mercury. A significant percentage of the water in the NC section of the Catawba basin also fails to meet at least one other water quality standard.
VOTE for what you think is the best song related to water, rivers, lakes -- you know, what we here at the Catawba Riverkeeper are trying to protect!
On August 28, 2012, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper and Clean Air Carolina challenging the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Garden Parkway, which would run from the Charlotte airport, across Lake Wylie and the South Fork of the Catawba to southern Gaston County.
History and Science and Regulations, OH MY! Catawba Riverkeeper will host course to educate on water issues
SCE&G agreed to a binding settlement requiring the closure of its ash pond and switching to dry ash handling in the future. It is hoped that this agreement will serve as a precedent for the closure of the four ash ponds operated by Duke Energy on the Catawba River.
Where is the Lorax when we need him? The 2012 billboard law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly allows billboard owners to clearcut stream banks in contravention of buffer rules designed to protect water quality.
Lake James Riverfest 2012 will be on September 15 at Lake James State Park. There will be activities for all ages.
Rain: The Dependable Delivery System for Fecal Bacteria to Streams and Lakes
Southeast U.S. communities should think twice before building new water supply reservoirs, according to a report released on July 10, 2012 by American Rivers. Issues raised in the report are directly relevant to proposed new reservoir on the Catawba River.
Terrible S820 Veto Override in Late Night House Session - Governor's Veto Overridden by a mistake!
Almost 40 years ago, Congress signed into law the Clean Water Act, and the promise and possibility of finally cleaning up our waterways and holding polluters liable became a reality. The goals were to make all of our waters fishable by 1983 and to eliminate all discharges of pollutants to our water by 1985, but we still haven't reached those goals.
On June 14, the North Carolina House and Senate passed a bill to legalize fracking, regardless of whether regulations are approved. The bill now goes to the Governor for signing or veto. Help us get this bad bill vetoed.
Support for funding the Garden Parkway project with state funds is dwindling.
On June 11, CRF hired Sam Perkins as its Director of Technical Programs.