NC Department of Environmental Quality

NC Department of Environmental Quality

Environment News Top Story

Dishonorable discharge: Runoff from a former industrial site is contaminating an important NC lake

Alcoa's continued discharge of toxics into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination, linked to paltry fines, lax state oversight  Alcoa, the eighth-largest aluminum company in the world, whose global reach spans 11 countries, claims on its website that it "operates with excellence" and "cares about people around the globe." The residents of West Badin, in Stanly County, and many of their neighbors across Badin Lake disagree.

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Environment Top Story

Report shows contaminated groundwater is migrating toward Teer Quarry, site of Durham’s future water supply

High levels of several toxic chemicals have been detected in groundwater near Teer Quarry, storage site for Durham’s future water supply, and are migrating toward the pit itself, state documents show. However, it is still uncertain if these compounds will reach the quarry, and if so, at what concentrations. The contaminant of greatest concern is 1,4-Dioxane, a likely carcinogen.

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Environment Top Story

Small foundation wants to build museum on fragile public land at Jockey’s Ridge State Park — rent-free

With their wavy ridges, like a vast sandy potato chip, the 100-foot dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Dare County are a spectacular sight to behold. It is the tallest active natural sand dune system in the eastern US, built over 3,000 years by the forces of wind and water, shoals and storms. Now a fledgling foundation with few assets and scant income is proposing to build a $7 million, 12,000-square-foot museum on environmentally fragile park land.

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Environment News Top Story

Hearing over denial of Wake Stone’s mining permit reveals fissures within DEQ

In early February of this year, Brian Wrenn, director of the state’s Division of Energy, Minerals and Land Resources – DEMLR – visited Umstead State Park, one of the premier natural areas in the Triangle.  Wrenn and several other top DEMLR officials had assembled there at the behest of Reid Wilson, the secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, which oversees the state park system. DEMLR was weighing a controversial mining permit application filed by Wake Stone to expand its existing rock quarry onto 225 acres abutting the Umstead State Park boundary. The decision, to approve or deny, was solely Wrenn’s.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Mountaire chicken slaughter plant overwhelming Siler City wastewater treatment facility, which has incurred 80 violations, $110K in fines

State has imposed a moratorium on the Siler City facility for chronic noncompliance, preventing new sewer connections for new industry, housing Downstream from the Siler City wastewater treatment plant, sickness had beset the Rocky River. At least 30 fish, including the Eastern shiner and some species of chub, "were observed with lesions and appeared stressed," Tim Savidge, an aquatic biologist wrote in his field notes to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. "Gasping, irregular swimming, etc."

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Environment Top Story

Wildlife Resources hastily rescued a species of rare fish. Now we know whether the beloved brookies survived

On a crisp summer morning in the mountains, TJ Johnson, a conservation biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, hoists a metal box the size of a mini-fridge onto his back. Clad in rubber waders and rubber gloves, he dips two electrodes the shape of snowshoes into the stream. The box beeps, a red light flashes, and Johnson jolts the water with 400 volts of electricity.

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Environment Top Story

A company clear-cut vast tracts of mountain forest, jeopardizing the survival of a beloved, unique trout

Companies owned by Alleghany County-based Bottomley Properties have a long violation history; DEQ has yet to fine them for latest round of damage The brookies were in danger of dying. Last June, after the spring thaw and a hard summer rain, a torrent of mud, dirt and rock, in some spots two feet deep, had gushed into Ramey Creek and its tributaries, potentially suffocating the fish and/or destroying their home.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: Our concrete jungles harm vulnerable people and contribute to climate change

A city block can make all the difference. On a sunny day last summer, the temperature in Nash Square, an urban oasis in Raleigh shaded by magnolia and oak trees, was two degrees cooler than the concrete jungle a block away. The Urban Heat Island Mapping Project released its first round of results earlier this month, which illustrated the stark differences in how land use affects not only the temperature, but people.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the state’s impaired, polluted waters

If you linked all the miles of impaired streams and rivers in North Carolina end to end, they would extend from the mountains to the sea four times. Add the total acreage of the state's impaired lakes, reservoirs and estuaries, and the breadth would equal nearly 2,000 golf courses.

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Environment

Air testing planned for neighborhood adjacent to contaminated former missile plant in Burlington

Extent of toxic solvents still unknown; new round of testing to begin

Environmental testing could restart as early as next month at a former Army missile plant in East Burlington, the next step in cleaning up widespread contamination that has burdened a Black and Latinx neighborhood for more than 30 years.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: NC’s biggest sewage offenders rack up millions of dollars in fines

Sewage backing up into people's showers in Currituck County. Millions of gallons of hog waste flooding streams and wetlands Down East. Problems at student apartments near Appalachian State and Western Carolina universities in the mountains. Illegal wastewater discharges are not merely a nuisance, but a threat to public health and the environment. Fecal material can contaminate drinking water wells and waterways. Industrial wastewater can contain numerous contaminants that enter the drinking water supply.

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Environment Top Story

“We don’t have time to wait”: Residents tell DEQ it must quickly regulate toxic PFAS in drinking water

North Carolina lags behind several states in regulating PFAS, prompting residents with contaminated drinking water to again urge state environmental officials to regulate the toxic compounds. “Lives are on the line,” said Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, at the Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board meeting yesterday. “DEQ and DHHS are not acting quickly enough.”

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Environment News Top Story

Snow Camp residents claim small, but important victory in fight over Alamance Aggregates mine

Court testimony revealed how the Mining Act favors industry. Boom.  Crack.  Boom.  Crack. During the last two weeks of September, Alamance Aggregates began ...
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Environment Top Story

EPA finally launches major effort to curb PFAS pollution, to mixed reviews about whether it’s enough

The Lake Raleigh fishing pier lies 80 miles north of Ground Zero for the toxic compound GenX, the Chemours chemical plant near the Bladen-Cumberland county line. Presumably, you could safely eat the fish caught from this lake, which is on the NC State University campus, but given the widespread PFAS contamination of North Carolina’s waterways, only testing could tell you for sure.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former Army missile plant in Burlington poses “an urgent public health risk”

Private owners neglect the contaminated property, posing an environmental threat to a Black and Latinx neighborhood

This is the second of a two-part story about hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that is threatening a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Clear and present danger: Former Army missile plant has polluted a Black, Latino neighborhood in Burlington for more than 30 years

Military, private owner have allowed toxic contaminants to fester, avoided penalties while residents bear environmental burden Tattooed in ivy, bound in chain-link fence, Building 16 casts an ominous three-story shadow over several homes along Hilton Road. The window blinds are torn, as if it were sleeping with one eye open.

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