High Rock Lake, others on impaired waters list
By Mark Wineka
Many familiar lakes, rivers and creeks in Rowan County and the surrounding area have made the state’s 2008 List of Impaired Waters.
They include High Rock Lake, sections of the Yadkin River and South Yadkin River and Town Creek.
The N.C. Division of Water Quality compiles the report every two years as part of complying with the Clean Water Act.
It lists waters not meeting quality standards or where uses are impaired. In bureaucratic terms, the report is often referred to as the “303(d) List,” which refers to the part of the act that requires the report.
Things most often associated with impairments are low populations or lack of diversity among aquatic communities, fecal coliform bacteria, turbidity, mercury in fish tissue and chlorophyll a ó an indicator of excessive nutrients.
Roughly 10 percent of the state’s freshwater streams, 20 percent of the saltwater streams, 36 percent of the freshwater acres and 38 percent of the saltwater acres were found to be impaired for one measurement or more.
Where there is a water quality standard violation, the state develops a total maximum daily load. It evaluates possible sources of the pollutant, and limits are developed to address what can be contributed to the water to ensure quality standards are met and the body’s designated uses are supported.
Designated uses for water bodies may be one or more of the following: aquatic life, recreation, fish consumption, public drinking water supply and shellfish harvesting.
Drinking water supplies generally are not affected by the listed impairments because the raw water is treated before being piped to the public.
Here are some of the local waters on the state’s list and the reasons they are impaired:
– Yadkin River, from Davie County water supply to half-mile upstream of Carters Creek ó turbidity. (Turbidity refers to a high amount of sediment in the water.)
– Yadkin River, from half-mile upstream of U.S. 64 to .3 mile downstream of Davidson County water intake ó turbidity.
– High Rock Lake, upper and lower reaches ó high pH, turbidity and chlorophyll a.
– South Yadkin River, from 1 mile upstream of Davie County State Road 1159 to N.C. 801 ó turbidity.
– South Yadkin River, from mouth of Fourth Creek to Yadkin River ó turbidity.
– Second Creek arm of High Rock Lake (894 acres) ó high ph and chlorophyll a.
– Third Creek ó turbidity.
– Fourth Creek ó biological criteria exceeded.
– Swearing Creek, from source to High Rock Lake ó biological criteria exceeded.
– Town Creek, from source to Crane Creek ó biological criteria exceeded.
– Abbotts Creek arm of High Rock Lake and Abbotts Creek overall ó turbidity, high pH, chlorophyll a, biological criteria exceeded.
The state report is available for public review on the Division of Water Quality Web site at http://h2o.enr.state.nc. us/tmdl. Those who wish to submit comments may send them to Jennifer Everett, N.C. Division of Water Quality, Planning Section, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1617, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Comments should be submitted no later than Feb. 15.