Thursday, April 29, 2010

Riverkeeper fishing for metal

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:47 AM

You read right. David Merryman, our Catawba Riverkeeper is going to spend a few days fishing. Must be nice, eh?

Actually, what David is doing — with the help of volunteers — is collecting fish samples so he can test them for heavy metals.

Here's why he's doing it himself:

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF) is pleased to announce that we will be collecting independent water, sediment and fish tissue samples from the Catawba River at Mountain Island Lake on Thursday, April 29. As a non-profit organization advocating for the protection of the Catawba River, we want to provide facts and figures regarding heavy metals and chemical contamination in our River to the public immediately. “No delays, and no governmental red-tape. We shouldn’t have to wait months or years to know what’s in the water we swim in and fish we eat,” says Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman.

The last report from such a study was conducted in 2001, but we didn't receive any results until 2009. P.S.: That's our damn drinking water. We deserve to now what's in it.

From the Gaston Gazette's Leo Hohmann:

Merryman, head of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, will be out on the lake this Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to oversee the foundation’s first-ever independent analysis of the lake’s water quality. He is enlisting local anglers to catch catfish and largemouth bass that will be tested for the presence of mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals. His fear is the lake could be compromised by years of discharges from two coal-ash ponds associated with Duke Energy’s Riverbend Steam Station.

The Riverkeeper has contracted with a Huntersville laboratory to test water, sediment and fish tissue samples for PCBs and eight heavy metals, including mercury and arsenic. He promises to make the results public within 25 business days. Merryman says state and federal regulators get poor grades for making testing results public in a timely manner.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, issued a report on the testing of fish tissue last fall, in 2009, but the fish that were used were caught in 2001.

From WFAE's Julie Rose:

"We want to know now," says David Merryman of the Catawba Riverkeeper. "We want to know what's in the fish we're eating. What's in the water we drink and what gets stirred up in the sediments we're swimming in."

Our drinking water is contaminated. From two months ago (it's got some audio problems, but you'll get the gist):

Some information about Little Sugar Creek, which runs through Charlotte and into the Catawba, from Rick Gaskins of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation:

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