Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More on our 'impaired' water source

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 12:24 PM

If we don't have clean water, what do we have -- really? Show me a major civilization that can survive without clean drinking water. We need it to survive, our businesses need it to thrive. We must learn to take care of our resources ... they take care of us.

Part of Mountain Island Lake, the main water source for Charlotte and Gastonia, has for the first time made North Carolina's list of "impaired" waters.

For reasons experts don't yet know, water readings in the lower lake turned slightly acidic. Five other places on the Catawba River, and four in the Yadkin basin east of Charlotte, also made this year's bad-water list for the same reason.

Acidic water isn't harmful to drink, but it threatens fish and other aquatic life.

"In a large way, it's showing that our primary drinking water source is being impacted by more troubles," said Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman.

Acid rain is among the suspects that might explain the Catawba and Yadkin readings. Industry emissions, largely from coal-burning power plants, form acidic compounds in the atmosphere that fall to the earth's surface.

But Viney Aneja, an air-pollution scientist at N.C. State University, points to what he believes is a likelier culprit: drought.

More striking is the state's overall trend.

In 2008, North Carolina listed 10 lakes and streams as impaired for acidic water. This year, 21 made the list. Most are in the state's western half: eight in the Catawba River basin; five in the Yadkin basin east of Charlotte; and two in the Broad west of the city.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Bruce Henderson, here.

In 2008, the Catawba River was named the country's most endangered river by American Rivers. Mountain Island Lake was formed when Duke Energy erected a hydroelectric dam on the Catawba, just above Mount Holly, in the 1920s.

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