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Jordan Lake Rules on hold with McCrory's signature

Posted August 23, 2013

Jordan Lake aerial

— Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation Friday that will delay for three years regulations designed to clean up Jordan Lake.

Jordan Lake has been "impaired" by pollution, much of it nutrient-filled runoff that feeds algae, since it was constructed by the federal government decades ago.

The so-called Jordan Lakes Rules were put in place in 2009 after much debate to fix those problems. Jordan Lake provides drinking water and recreation in the Triangle, but much of the cost of cleaning up the lake was incurred by communities in Triad region, where streams that feed the lake originate.

Although communities in Alamance, Guilford and Rockingham counties have paid to upgrade sewage treatment plants, rules that would require other measures and potentially limit development in the lake's watershed haven't gone into effect yet. With McCrory's signature on Senate Bill 515, they are on hold until 2016.

In the meantime, the state is using $1.3 million to test technology for cleaning up the lake itself, and lawmakers and state regulators will look at other possible solutions to the pollution problem.

"We're not surprised, but we're still incredibly disappointed," Elizabeth Ouzts, executive director of Environment North Carolina, said of McCrory's decision to sign the bill.

Ouzts said she believes the new technology should be tested in conjunction with the Jordan Lake Rules, not replace them.

Jordan Lake Environmentalists bemoan delay in Jordan Lake cleanup regs

"We know what needs to be done to clean up the lake. We simply have to control the pollution from all the development upstream of the lake," she said. "Every year we wait to clean it up is another year of beach closings, another year of algae blooms, another year of pollution in the lake."

Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, said the pilot project and a comprehensive review of all regulations are in the best long-term interests of Jordan Lake.

"I am disappointed that environmental groups are standing up against new technology that will improve the water quality in Jordan Lake and against a comprehensive study to ensure the safety of our drinking water," Barringer said.

Despite the delay in implementing the 2009 set of regulations, the new law is less sweeping than a measure that originally passed the Senate that would have wiped out the Jordan Lake Rules altogether and created a committee to redraw them.

10 Comments

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  • Rebelyell55 Aug 28, 11:40 a.m.

    Even current rules aren't always followed or enforce. The "boom" up stream will certain get started now. It's sad that like all the others who protest and send letters, it does no good, since this GA is dead set on a path, and will continue no matter how much damage is done.

  • gotnoid Aug 28, 8:10 a.m.

    How did the new Governor get the lake polluted so quickly! In just 6 months he was able to pollute big ole lake Jordan!
    Were the prior administrations able to keep it clean and safe for drinking and recreation?
    Amazing!

    W

  • Chatham Adam Aug 28, 6:51 a.m.

    Shadow Governor Art Pope must have cornered the Perrier market in this area if he told his boy Pat to sign that bill. All those Cary and Apex Republicans will have to get clean water somewhere else once Jordan Lake water becomes undrinkable again.

  • bill15 Aug 26, 11:43 p.m.

    Let them drink bottled water.

  • ncfarmhand2 Aug 26, 7:46 p.m.

    I just wonder who McCrory owed this favor. More and more giveaways to big business and the wealthy while the rest of us get the shaft.

  • CastIronEgret Aug 26, 2:35 p.m.

    "I am disappointed that environmental groups are standing up against new technology that will improve the water quality in Jordan Lake and against a comprehensive study to ensure the safety of our drinking water," Barringer said.

    Actually, the environmentalists are in favor of technology and workable solutions. The Jordan Lake Rules utilize proven scientifc methods to reduce pollution entering the lake. The repeal of the Rules just means that more treatment will be needed once the water is polluted. And I'm curious as to what this $1.3 will be spent on. What type of treatment technology are they talking about that will clean up a lake that size?

  • Come On_Seriously Aug 26, 12:20 p.m.

    Backward thinking yet again to hold off on implementing rules to reduce nutrient runoff into the lake for three years so the water quality will continue to decline.

    Meanwhile, they want to spend $1.3 million that they claim we don't have to try to clean the water that they're letting get worse.

    This is much like the lack of funding for schools- the Repub mantra of 'business fixes all' seems to make them think that if they defund things (like public schools and environmental regulations), they can point to them not working at all so that they can then claim that they should just be abolished entirely.

    It is pure hubris of this uber-conservative GA and Gov to think that there is no need for things like clean water or public schools anyway, when everyone can just buy a private school education and bottled water.

    Eventually, this GA will probably want you to show an ID to get any water (much less clean water)...

  • jackjones2nc Aug 26, 7:33 a.m.

    Each time someone sees the polluted water, they'll see Tillis and McCrory selling out North Carolina.

  • here2defend Aug 24, 12:27 a.m.

    I agree : "Technology should be tested in conjunction with currenet Jordan Lake Rules". Let's not be irrational about this. We need to maintain safe environments while technological enhancements are being tested. Incremental changes should be controlled and made only after they have been proven evironmentally safe.
    This should be a no brainer.

  • stormwaterguy Aug 23, 7:36 p.m.

    Sad day for anyone who swims, plays, fishes, or boats in Jordan Lake. Sadder day for anyone who gets their drinking water from Jordan Lake...that would be several hundred thousand voters.