Local News

Rains May Have Added Muddy Runoff to Area Lakes

Posted January 2, 2008

— Heavy rain over the weekend might have filled area reservoirs with more than needed water, according to environmentalists. They allege that sediment runoff from area construction sites fouled lakes.

Dean Naujoks of the Neuse River Foundation said he found compromised silt fences, clogged storm drains, and mucked-up sediment ponds at a series of large residential developments off O'Kelly Chapel and Green Level roads in west Cary. The subdivisions aren't far from Jordan Lake, a primary drinking water source for towns in western Wake County.

"The big deal is sediment is the No. 1 water pollution problem in North Carolina, and even during one of the worst droughts we've ever seen, it's frustrating that developers are seemingly unable to keep mud and sediment on the sites," Naujoks said. "Not only is this sediment, but this is also fecal bacteria, heavy metals and nutrients."

Developers disputed Naujoks' claims, saying the situation looked worse than it was.

Brad Whitehurst, of Lennar Homes, said sediment was contained at the developer's site.

"We take this very seriously. We had no off-site runoff," Whitehurst said, adding that workers cleaned out muddied problem areas.

WRAL News found a murky tributary near the residential developments that flows into Kit Creek, which feeds Jordan Lake.

State and local inspectors said they haven't had a chance to investigate specific runoff areas around construction sites this week because of the New Year's Day holiday.

"We take sediment control very seriously and have implemented some of the area’s most stringent sediment control measures," Cary spokeswoman April Raphiou said in a statement. "We were made aware of a complaint regarding sediment control measures off O’Kelly Road on Monday ... and are continuing to investigate the matter."


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Steve Crisp Jan 4, 2008

    To fizbuster:

    There is no lack of education on my part. There is, however as you put it, a blatent disreguard for the quality of life when it comes to slimy creatures over the needs of mankind.

    The thing that envirowackos fail to acknowledge or even realize in many cases is that the environment is not static. Yet they try to micromanage their own little backyards so that not one single plant of animal is harmed. I say, if they can't adapt to us, screw 'em.

  • Trooper Jan 3, 2008

    You Know, I've been living in NC all my life and I don't believe that I have ever seen it rain that we didn't have sediment in streams and in fields. These so called enviro mental ist need to find something else to gripe about

  • taylor boy Jan 3, 2008

    As long as mankind has been drinking water and doing construction, this is still a problem1? NC better get hot.

  • PaulRevere Jan 3, 2008

    Well, duh!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 3, 2008

    I don't disagree that a company blatantly allowing full runoff is very bad. But ALL companies basically take some steps to reduce it. The difference in them taking some steps, and tremendous steps, isn't really that big of a difference.

    These blogs have mentioned Environmentalists numerous times. And below, someone said, and I quote, "Just remember: it's not NICE to fool with Mother Nature!"

    Sometimes, I wonder if its not the Environmentalists that are actually the ones messing with Mother Nature's natural process.

  • RaleighRob Jan 3, 2008

    bobbyj is totally correct. Most developers in NC are not using updated sediment control methods. Anytime you strip vegetation off of soil you MUST have adequate measures to keep it from washing into stormwater drains and streams everytime it rains. But it is pretty clear from the video of this report that these developers have utterly failed in their responsibility to keep this from happening. It is blatantly illegal.

  • raider Jan 3, 2008

    There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between "natural runoff/erosion" and that which occurs from land that has been stripped of all vegetation for development. Since we have made the mistake of allowing developers to completely strip land, we decided to require them to TRY and contain any resulting erosion - TRY being the important word here. It can't be done. Not like "mother nature" was doing it with the vegetation that was there. Just remember: it's not NICE to fool with Mother Nature!

  • fuzBuster Jan 3, 2008

    I can’t let this one go by without a comment, hopefully to educate a few readers.
    A few of you have commented that erosion is a natural process. This is true, but what we are seeing with the excessive runoff from these land-stripping developments is not healthy for our water supply, or the aquatic organisms in the creeks and reservoirs. Throughout this state and the entire southeast, we are seeing widespread failure of aquatic ecosystems, and subsequent loss of rare species. In each case, the threads that hold our web together are being snipped, and we lose part of the natural heritage of this state that I would like to pass on to my children. Is that the legacy you want to leave?
    Comments from Crisp about “envirowackos” and shine, joefly, etc. Clearly show a lack of education or a blatant disregard for quality of life.

  • bobbyj Jan 3, 2008

    As a civil engineer for 20 years living here for only 3 years I can tell you the sediment control features used in North Carolina are way behind the times. No site can be completely eliminate sediment during a rain storm event but site fence with small sediment ponds is not the answer. Sediment is bad but the lack of understanding of the non-issues is even worse.

  • mom2threecld Jan 3, 2008

    quit complaining and be thankful there is water to have sediment in. that's kinda like us that work in health care...lets complain because there are sick people duhhhhhh that's our job. shut up and do your job like we all have to do