Library of Documents on Mercury Contamination

There are statewide fish advisories in North Carolina and South Carolina for mercury. The primary source of the mercury contamination is emissions from coal-fired power plants. This section contains information about the sources of mercury contamination and impact of mercury exposure.

Power Plants and Mercury
2005 report by the Environment Maine Research & Policy Center on the relationship between powerplants and mercury in the aquatic environment.
Mercury Pollution from Powerplants: Myths vs. Facts
2004 Factsheet from the National Wildlife Federation.
Mercury in North Carolina
Information about mercury exposure in North Carolina (summarized from DENR website).
USGS Finds 100% Mercury Contamination in US Streams
Mercury contamination is widespread. Mercury was detected in all fish sampled from 291 streams across the U.S. Concentrations about 27% of the fish sampled exceeded the criterion for the protection of humans who consume average amounts of fish, established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (0.3 parts per million, wet weight).
Top 50 Emission Point Sources in NC - table
Top 50 Mercury Emission Point Sources in NC - map
Memo on Scientific Advisory Board Review of Mercury
Mercury Overview - Powerpoint Slides
Presentation prepared by Eden Tedla (summer intern from UNCC) regarding mercury issues in North Carolina
State officials in North and South Carolina issued health advisories urging the public to stay away from largemouth bass and channel catfish in large portions of the Catawba River and its lakes due to contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. These advisories come after years of prodding by Catawba Riverkeeper.
Fish testing timeline
Fish testing timeline
Catawba Fish Sampling Request Letter
Send a letter to NC Division of Water Quality requesting additional sampling of Catawba River lakes and species for PCB contamination. Use our letter as an example.
Dec 2011 PCB Test Results from Middle Catawba
PCB test results from Lake Wylie, Mountain Island Lake and Lake Norman. Testing conducted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services and NC Division of Water Quality.
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Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
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.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
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.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
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Report Pollution in the Catawba River

Help protect your River! 

Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
  • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
  • Fish kills 
  • Unpermitted discharges
  • Other issues that concern you

Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

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