Raleigh – Jordan Lake will continue to be polluted, thanks to two bills that passed the North Carolina General Assembly in the final hours of the legislative session. By forcing a controversial development next to the most polluted part of Jordan Lake and stalling cleanup of the reservoir, lawmakers voted to allow more pollution in the important drinking water source for years to come.
SB 515 will delay cleanup and restoration of Jordan Lake by an additional three years.
““Every year we wait to clean up the lake is another year of pollution, algae blooms, and beach closings at Jordan Lake,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, state director for Environment North Carolina.
Jordan Lake provides drinking water hundreds of thousands of Wake and Chatham County residents. Additionally, more than 1 million people visit the lake each year to swim, fish, and hike among other activities. But development upstream has taken its toll, and the lake has routinely failed basic water quality standards since 1997.
To restore the lake, the General Assembly passed a law in 2009, to require developers, wastewater treatment facilities, and agricultural sources to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous pollution into the lake over time. But lawmakers have voted twice to delay key deadlines in the law, and now they’re stopping the clock on cleanup altogether.
“Lawmakers complain the Jordan Lake cleanup plan isn’t working,” said Ouzts. “But that’s because they keep delaying it.”
Lawmakers also adopted SB 315, which forces the City of Durham to annex land and provide water services for the controversial 751 South project, a move that the Durham City Council has now twice voted against. The development, which includes 81-acres of pavement and rooftops just hundreds of feet from Jordan Lakewill increase runoff and ultimately make it even more difficult, for the lake to meet federal water quality standards.
“Jordan Lake is an important resources, not just for the Triangle, but for all of North Carolina, “ said Ouzts. “It’s disappointing that, in the 11th hour of the session, lawmakers voted to allowed big developers to pollute the lake even more.”