Local News

Rains May Have Added Muddy Runoff to Area Lakes

Posted January 2, 2008 4:54 p.m. EST
Updated January 2, 2008 7:21 p.m. EST

— 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."