If we think the water quality in Lake Waccamaw is bad now, just wait…

1 08 2011

From the NC League of Conservation Voters

 

Legislative Watch:    ‘Legislative Jihad’ Continues

Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) called it a “legislative jihad” against environmental regulations when the N.C. House voted 76-42 to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of SB 781, the so-called “Regulatory Reform Act of 2011”.

Rep. Paul Leubke (D-Durham) said “this is not regulatory reform, this is regulatory retreat”. Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) said that the bill’s “massive changes” to state law will make it “very difficult to enact rules to protect the public health, safety, welfare, and environment.”

SB 781 buries our state’s pollution control efforts in so much additional red tape that our remaining environmental enforcement staff (deeply cut by the terrible 2012 budget) will be hamstrung in trying to protect North Carolinians’ health. It also takes away from environmental agencies the ability to make final administrative decisions interpreting and applying their own pollution-control rules. This shifts agency decision-making from the scientific experts to administrative law judges who usually have no special background or training on environmental issues.

While the House vote to override the veto of SB 781 was predominantly along party lines, there were critical exceptions. On the bright side, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) withstood great pressure from his Republican colleagues to vote for SB 781, and deserves recognition for sticking to his principles and opposing the bill.

On the grim side, the following Democratic representatives abandoned their governor and most of their Democratic colleagues to vote for this egregiously anti-environmental legislation: Marcus Brandon (Guilford), William Brisson (Bladen), Jim Crawford (Granville), Ken Goodman (Montgomery), Dewey Hill (Brunswick), Darren Jackson (Wake), Frank McGuirt (Anson), Bill Owens (Pasquotank), Tim Spear (Chowan), and Michael Wray (Northampton).

Environmentally speaking, the only good news from the veto session was the failure of the House leadership to bring up SB 709 (the so-called “Energy Jobs Act”) for a vote. That failure indicated that they did not have sufficient votes to win an override attempt. Unfortunately, the bill remains alive and could be considered in September or even next year.

If that veto were to be overridden, SB 709 would force the governor to pursue a deal with other coastal states to encourage offshore drilling, and would advance the use of dangerous “fracking” techniques for underground gas exploration.

In other state legislative action last week, the General Assembly approved on near party-line votes the controversial state legislative and Congressional redistricting plans put forward by the Republican leaders. Opponents will now move forward with legal challenges to the maps. Look for the federal courts ultimately to decide whether new district maps (these or some others) will be in place for the 2012 elections.


 

 

 this information was shared by –

David and Donna Scott

1004 Lakeshore Drive

Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450-2143

910.646.3274

scottfree123@embarqmail.com





Important Public Meeting

6 02 2011

Once again your support is needed to help prevent possible damage to the fragile Green Swamp environment.  In late November 2010 we learned that the NC Division of Solid Waste (DSW) had issued a draft permit (SLAS 24-08) to Waste Management of Wilmington that would allow them to use 41.8 acres of Riegel Ridge’s Green Swamp property to dispose of up to 1.3 million gallons of septage waste in the first year of operation.  Indications are that Waste Management will expand the size of this operation in subsequent years and can do so without public notice. Septage is defined as a fluid mixture of untreated and partially treated sewage solids, liquids, and sludge of human or domestic origin from septic tanks, grease traps, portable toilets and commercial/industrial septage from septic tanks where water-carried waste results from the process of industry.  Efforts to fight this proposal are already underway and in response to public concerns DSW has agreed to hold a public hearing on the project even though it is not a requirement of the permitting process.

What can you do to help?  Plan to attend the public hearing 6:30 p.m. at the Whiteville High School Auditorium on Thursday, February 10, 2011. The hearing will give the public an opportunity to express concerns about the possible negative impact of this proposed project on the Green Swamp, Lake Waccamaw and the Waccamaw River.  If you wish to speak at the hearing, hopefully in opposition to the project, you can register at the hearing and you will be allowed five minutes to make your comments.  Even if you don’t speak, your attendance at the hearing is vitally important to show DSW that there is significant public concern about this project.  Please encourage your friends and neighbors to attend as well so that we can fill Bowers Auditorium.  The public notice about this hearing and an article by Nicole Cartrette appeared in the January 20, 2011 issue of the News Reporter.  Learn what you can about the project by researching the rules and regulations related to septage disposal.  DSW’s website at www.wastenotnc.org is a good starting point and Nicole Cartrette has written several excellent articles about this project in the News Reporter during December and January.  Included with this letter is a brief list of some of the concerns identified by Friends of the Green Swamp.

Here’s are some of the issues we hope will be addressed at this public meeting:

  1. Can the 41.8 acre site assimilate up to 1.3 million gallons of septage per year?  There were concerns about soil conditions, poor drainage in the area and a high water table when the landfill was being proposed.
  2. According to the permit, application of the septage may leave no standing water.  How can this be done in light of the above concerns?
  3. The draft permit limits application to 50,000 gallons per acre per year on the grass/grain 11.8 acres in the first year, but the application suggests that up to 165,000 gallons per acre per year may be applied in subsequent years.
  4. The application identifies 115 acres as being suitable for septage application and Waste Management has indicated that the project may be expanded beyond the initial 41.8 acres.
  5. The application also states that the pine stands in Fields 1 and 4 will be reevaluated after two years and could be replaced with Bermuda grass fields to increase the volume of septage that could be applied.  Is there a potential of 115 acres at 165,000 gals per acre per year?
  6. What controls will be used to prevent runoff or migration of wastes off of the designated site, as required by the permit, and what is the effectiveness history of these controls?
  7. How will spray drift be contained within the permitted area as required by the permit?
  8. How will contamination of groundwater be prevented?  What will be done to insure that hydraulic loading is such that it will percolate and be used by the vegetation in order to prevent surface water runoff into ditches and/or discharge into the aquifers?
  9. Who will do the monitoring/testing and will any findings be shared with the public?
  10. Waste Management says no industrial waste will be applied, but that category is checked on the application and is noted in the permit.
  11. What about contaminants not removed in the typical water treatment process, such as pathogens, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, solvents, etc.?
  12. Columbus County Commissioners’ concerns: close proximity to Lake Waccamaw, risk to endangered species, increased traffic flow, odor and discouragement to prospective businesses and industries.
  13. What about the impact on the adjoining Juniper Creek Game Lands property and the nearby Nature Conservancy Green Swamp Preserve?
  14. What about the impact on wildlife that may enter the application area?  The application states that there are no endangered or threatened species on the site.  How was this determined and by whom?
  15. What about the effects of high pH on the soil in the application areas?
  16. What about the volume of septage to be applied per acre?  Nutrient loading must be less than the expected uptake by vegetation.
  17. Have alternative disposal methods been considered?
  18. The soil scientist who did the study says that a major site limitation is the presence of wetlands throughout the site, but then makes the statement that site limitations are considered minimal.  Which is it?
  19. Shouldn’t water monitoring ground wells be required around the application site in an environmentally sensitive area like the Green Swamp?
  20. What about studies that have shown that some contaminants are not removed by the treatment process?  BREDL is a good source for this information.
  21. DSW referred to the landfill site as “marginally suitable at best” because of the high ground-water table, questionable on-site soil resources and impacts on adjacent and nearby environmentally sensitive features such as wetlands, flood plains, and state nature and historic preserves.  Aren’t these concerns valid for this project as well?
  22. The area is susceptible to flooding during heavy rainfall events and nutrient uptake potential of the area would not be a deterrent to septage movement out of the area during flooding.
  23. Groundwater contamination by nitrogen may occur if the nitrogen applied in sludge is greater than the crop requires.
  24. If land application of septage is such a great idea, why has the state of Florida passed legislation to phase out the practice by January 1, 2016?

 





NEW Green Swamp issue needs YOUR help…

6 01 2011

Once again your support is needed to help prevent possible damage to the fragile Green Swamp environment.  In late November 2010 we learned that the NC Division of Solid Waste (DSW) had issued a draft permit to Waste Management of Wilmington that would allow them to use 41.8 acres of Riegel Ridge’s Green Swamp property to dispose of up to 1.3 million gallons of septage waste annually.  Septage is defined as a fluid mixture of untreated and partially treated sewage solids, liquids, and sludge of human or domestic origin from septic tanks, grease traps, portable toilets and commercial/industrial septage from septic tanks where water-carried waste results from the process of industry.  Efforts to fight this proposal are already underway and there has been enough of a public response that DSW has agreed to hold a public hearing on the project at a time and place not yet announced.  It is interesting to note that a public hearing is not a requirement of the permitting process, but thanks to the letter writing efforts of many individuals, a letter from the Columbus County Commissioners, and a resolution from the Lake Waccamaw Board of Commissioners, DSW was made aware that the project was the subject of considerable public concern.

What can you do to help?  Plan to attend a meeting of Friends of the Green Swamp at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Waccamaw Town Hall on Thursday, January 27, 2011. The meeting will provide the latest information on the status of the Waste Management septage project and give everyone present an opportunity to discuss possible strategies for successful opposition to the project.

When the public hearing is scheduled, please make an effort to attend and if you are so inclined speak in opposition to the project.  Please encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Learn what you can about the project by researching the rules and regulations related to septage disposal.  DSW’s website at www.wastenotnc.org is a good starting point and Nicole Cartrette had several excellent articles about this project in the News Reporter during December.

Also, your support of Friends of the Green Swamp through your paid membership and donations is vital to our continuing efforts to fulfill our mission to protect this wonderful environment in which we live, work and play.

Click here for a FOGS membership form .





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5 03 2010


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