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Raleigh, Durham Move Ahead With Water Plans

Posted November 9, 2007

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— The Army Corps of Engineers has approved a plan to divert water from nearby lakes into the Neuse River to conserve Raleigh's dwindling water supply in Falls Lake.

Meanwhile, Durham officials have outlined a plan to tap a former quarry to provide more drinking water to city residents.

Raleigh officials recently proposed pumping water from Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson into the Neuse River through a new sewer pump station and about 10 miles of sewer main. Because the pump station and sewer lines have never been used before, officials said, there was little risk of adverse environmental impacts.

The water from the two lakes would allow the Corps to cut the flow of water from Falls Lake without diminishing the water available in the Neuse River for communities downstream. Officials said it could add up to three weeks to the available water supply in Falls Lake.

The lake, which is more than 8 feet below normal, has at least 113 days of drinking water remaining, officials said.

Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson can be lowered no more than 10 feet each by the pumping plan, officials said.

In Durham, officials are scrambling to put pumps and pipes in place to draw water from an abandoned quarry.

The quarry, which is off Denfield Street in north Durham, holds an estimated 520 million gallons of water, which would last the city about 22 days, officials said. The city's two primary reservoirs, Lake Michie and Little River, have enough water combined to last 72 days, officials said.

A pipeline that carries water from Lake Michie to Durham's water treatment plant runs near the quarry, officials said they would to pump water from the quarry into that line.

9 Comments

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  • jeff275771234 Nov 9, 2007

    good, now i can go wash my car. dam its dirty

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 2007

    Three weeks worth of water hardly seems worth the expense and will this cause any issues with the lakes from which the water will be pulled? But on the expense side, I am sure King Meeker will figure out a way to extract the necessary offering from your wallets. Maybe Raleigh will luck out and some good storms will come through and make this unnecessary.

  • Jeremiah Nov 9, 2007

    i'd imagine they'd pump it to the pump station as well

  • SteamTrain Nov 9, 2007

    The lines should be OK. The article says there's already a pumping station on that line, and water is certainly less viscous. I would guess it depends on whether the lake water can use gravity flow to the pump station. I know there are sewage pumping stations all over Raleigh to get "stuff" to the major treatment sites. I guess we'll find out whether it works, but it's a good alternative until Raleigh gets ne reservoirs on-line.

  • Jeremiah Nov 9, 2007

    bushretard, it says through a pumpstation and sewer line, so i assume its a force main, and designed to carry a pressurized flow. besides, I dont' think there are many gravity lines close to 10 miles long.

  • Titus Pullo Nov 9, 2007

    Our elected officials have bungled our water policies again despite continued drought. I wonder if they would share with the public the plan in place for the possibility of no rain before the lakes drop too low. I bet they do not have a plan. I must say, however, that we get the government we deserve because those of us who vote selected this crew. And those of you who don't vote....well what can be said about you?

  • bushretard Nov 9, 2007

    Sanitary sewers are usually designed for gravity flow for much of their length. Unless this 10-mile sewer line from Lake Benson was designed as a force main, the pumping pressures may damage it and cause leaks.

  • Been there once Nov 9, 2007

    Depends on how much rain you get. We need enough to fill the lakes.

  • moi_oc Nov 9, 2007

    If we get rain within 94 days we will be good. It will be a close thing.