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Wake Looks at Mining Water in Area Quarries

Posted March 13, 2008

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— Abandoned quarries in Wake County contain billions of gallons of water that at least one official said should be tapped to augment the supply of available drinking water.

Some of the former mining pits are filled by aquifers, while others are fed by diverted streams. They usually contain more than 1 billion gallons each. By comparison, Falls Lake contains close to 15 billion gallons when full.

"We've seen them up to 4 billion gallons," said Tommy Esqueda, director of Wake County Environmental Services. "The smallest I've seen is about 1 billion gallons."

The county has no long-term plans for tapping quarries, but Esqueda said he would like to change that. The county could begin studying possibilities later this year, he said.

"There is capacity and volume there. So, (the question is) how can we develop it?" he said.

Durham tapped into Teer Quarry at the northern edge of the city in January, when its two reservoirs had about a month's worth of quality drinking water left between them. The city recently stopped pumping water from the quarry after rains helped replenish the reservoirs.

Harnett and Orange counties also have long-term plans to use quarries for drinking water.

Doy Sherrill, who owns a former granite quarry near Rolesville, said he would gladly sell some of his water to Wake County.

The 54-acre quarry, which is filled to a depth of 82 feet in places, contains enough water to supply most of Rolesville's needs. Sherrill said the county expressed an interest in buying the quarry several years ago, but he now leases it out to scuba divers.

"It's enough water that they could use some of it. It'd be good if they did," he said.


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  • poohperson2000 Mar 14, 2008

    This gentleman is already making money letting people scubba dive. If taking water is going to hurt tht business, Raleigh will be paying a hefty price for it. As they should, it is his land, his business, and his lively hood. I would watch out that they do not attempt to use emminent domain to get the land.

  • common_sense_plz Mar 14, 2008

    You can't blame the man for selling the water....he does own the quarry,so this means that he owns the water in it. The potential problem here is the aquifers that may feed this quarry. it could cause well users in the extended area to possibly decrease their storage, or run wells dry, then what are the options of those in the outlying areas that this will affect. I believe that they need to find out if this quarry predomintly filled by underground springs, creeks or runoff.

  • haggis basher Mar 14, 2008

    If its clean and safe, why not? Better than using them for land fills...

  • Garnerwolf1 Mar 14, 2008

    Key point - the owners of the quarry would "sell" the water. Then it will have to be pumped, transported, treated, etc. Money, money, money. Raleigh PD claims they haven't had a raise in about 7 years (I have no idea if it's true or not) but it is true they can't keep officers. Schools, roads, everything else that costs.

    Prepare for your property taxes, and fees, to go up, up, up!

  • charlesboyer Mar 14, 2008

    Southern Fried Yankee, compared to the cost of building a reservoir of the same volume, I have to agree. I would support the bond issue too.

  • rumbleehockey04 Mar 14, 2008

    geez....raleigh sounds like an addict looking for a fix...they want to tap jordan lake, kerr lake, quaries, the atlantic ocean, the great lakes, the nile, and a mud pubble for water

  • Adelinthe Mar 14, 2008

    Can't believe they haven't thought of this before. Sheesh!!!

    And mining water fed by aquifers is usually crystal clear too.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • suchhappiness Mar 14, 2008

    Liquid gold!!!

  • whatelseisnew Mar 14, 2008

    Southern Fried Yankee

    SO long as it is a City Bond have at it. Certainly there is not enough debt in the country, go for it.

  • Go Georgia Tech Mar 14, 2008

    its me again- we have been doing this for years in Rocky Mount- problem is they dont filter or treat the water half the time. They just send you a notice in the mail saying. "if you drank tap water a year ago, you may become sick".. hey- maybe thats why crime is so bad here- the water made them do it!