Send in the Mussels?
The North Carolina State Senate is debating a repeal of nutrient management rules for the Neuse, Tar- Pamlico, Falls Lake and Jordan Lake watersheds. Proponents of the repeal say that the rules are too burdensome to developers, and want new guidelines based on new research.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, the state is required to clean up Falls and Jordan Lakes, which provide drinking water for more than 700,000 residents. The lakes often exceed state standards for chlorophyll, which promotes algal blooms.
The plan under consideration by Senate Republicans would set aside $500,000 for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study new nutrient management strategies, and $500,000 for the Wildlife Resources Commission to assess whether freshwater mussel species could help mitigate pollution in Jordan and Falls lakes.
Senator Mike Woodard, a Democrat from Durham County, opposes the repeal, saying, “You want another Flint, Michigan situation? It’s not just coal ash that could be in our water now. It’s all the algae and all the things that nitrogen produces in Jordan Lake.”