Enforcement Unable to Keep Up with Erosion
Posted August 16, 1998
RALEIGH — The downpour that drenched the Triangle Sunday night is also making a mess of some waterways. Erosion from construction sites can pour into streams and cause trouble for miles. New laws are in place to address erosion, but enforcement isn't keeping up.
A lot of silt has been flowing through Crabtree Creek since Sunday night's storm. Orange creek water is flowing into the clearer looking Neuse River. Homeowners like Bill Garrabrant have seen it before.
"Ordinarily, you would see green, shades of green, and it would be a real pretty color. Now, after an inch of rain last night, we have a lot of mud that washed out from somewhere," said Bill Garrabrant.
Much of the sediment comes from construction sites. New regulations are in place to cut down on erosion, but there aren't enough inspectors to enforce them. Only 20 inspectors are responsible for every construction site in North Carolina.
There are so few inspectors statewide right now that they can only visit building sites about twice a year. Not only does that cut down on planned inspections, it makes surprise inspections nearly impossible.
The Governor's budget would double the number of inspectors, but the House and Senate have to support it.
"The message needs to be that we have a good program, and we're taking steps to strengthen the program. Now we need the people in place to enforce it," said Don Reuter.
Environmentalists say lawmakers don't have to look far to see what's at stake since Crabtree creek is only a stone's throw from the state capitol.
Inspectors who spent the day on the water tell us that in spite of the mud, they have found no substantial damage.