By John Searby, Executive Director

Catawba Riverkeeper is always pleased when municipalities include us in plans for major community projects. We are even more thrilled when these projects are going to have positive impacts on our region’s waterways within the Catawba River Basin.  So, we are excited to be a part of the community action committee for the Stowe Regional Water Resource Recovery Facility.

This state-of-the-art facility will provide wastewater treatment services to communities in northwestern Mecklenburg County as well as Belmont and Mt. Holly in eastern Gaston County. It will meet the needs of a growing community, processing 15 million gallons of wastewater per day. Most importantly to the health of the river, it will replace two aging wastewater treatment plants in Belmont and Mt. Holly with a system that will be on the cutting edge of wastewater treatment. Reducing the number of permitted discharges into the river by 2 and closing these older plants will lead to cleaner, healthier, safer water in Lake Wylie and below. In order to do this, however, pipes will have to be run under the Catawba River from Mt. Holly and Belmont to deliver those communities’ wastewater to the new Charlotte plant.  We have been providing input regarding our concerns about this portion of the project; Charlotte Water and their contractors have been providing us with engineering plans throughout the process to ensure that this part of the project is done with the utmost care to ensure there are no negative affects to the river during or after this boring for the pipes.

In addition to the building of the Stowe Facility, Charlotte Water has committed to providing funds towards a Community Benefit Project that shares the environmental protection goals of the facility by utilizing the natural resources in the area to build a vibrant public space or meaningful community feature that encourages connectedness, cohesion and well-being in the area.

A workshop about this project can be accessed anytime from Jan. 27th until Feb. 24th by visiting Participants will be able to watch a project overview video, share ideas through virtual post-it notes, provide feedback and upload photos, and respond to surveys and polls about their opinions and what they feel is needed in the area. Their input will help Charlotte Water project managers understand the needs and concerns of the community, develop solutions and gain insight on ideas for the Community Benefit Project.

We encourage all of our members to study this project and give input on the community workshop website. Stay tuned for more information and details concerning this project and its impact on the Catawba River in the months to come.

LUNCHTIME Q&A: March 5 | 12 – 1 PM
This is a big project that involves running pipes under the Catawba River. So, to answer your questions, we’re hosting a virtual Q&A session. You’ll hear from Charlotte Water and Catawba Riverkeeper and may submit questions.

All those who sign up will be emailed the meeting link. You also have the option to submit questions ahead of time in the sign up form. We’ll also be taking questions live in the chat box.