french broad river pollution

Posted by in smash-blog | December 29, 2020

It flows northeast into Henderson County, where it turns northwest and courses through Buncombe and Madison Counties. If the Southern Appalachian peaks are the soul of Western North Carolina, the French Broad River is the region’s pulse. As a community, it makes no sense to subsidize energy costs with the health of our rivers. Germs and bacteria can linger in your sink and transfer to your dishes. “We tell them don't drink the water. └ Tags: bacteria, e-coli, environment, French Broad, pollution, River, sewage, straight piping, The French Broad River, tubing, turbidity, waste, water, waterways Comment . Our reports include everything from data on 18 months of water-quality violations to recent legal action regarding coal ash ponds located close to the river in Buncombe County. Essentially permits-to-pollute, each permit allows the recipient to discharge a certain amount of pollution daily. Bacteria pollution comes from agricultural runoff, sewage leaks and faulty wastewater treatment plants. The Pigeon River of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee rises above Canton, North Carolina, is impounded by Walters Dam, enters Tennessee, and flows into the French Broad River, just past Newport, Tennessee.The river traverses the Pisgah National Forest and the Cherokee National Forest, and drains much of the northeastern Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ditzler, who is also an environmental engineer, said this summer has been like no other for the company, which has been in business since 2012 with locations in South Asheville on Brevard Road and “midtown,” on Riverside Drive. The samples were taken far from where the pollutants are first discharged into the tributaries. Monitoring results for the week of Aug. 6 followed a declining trend this year in water quality. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. The DWR tests at five sites along the French Broad have also found that bacteria levels are trending upward. I slowly glide by the River Arts District in Asheville where more than 150 artists have studios. Portland: Photolucida, 2011. As the French Broad nears Asheville, the river becomes much wider, and a water-treatment facility built on the river’s banks provides drinking water to the region. Watershed: The French Broad River. The fields there flood so often that the land is marginal for farming—but prime for floodplain restoration. For subscribers: Could a bacteria-chomping mussel be the answer to E. coli in the French Broad River? Enjoying a craft beer alongside the French Broad River. “This isn’t just an issue of public health, it’s also an issue of adapting to climate change and addressing racial equity, which the city has named as top priorities,” Carson said. Cleanup efforts are expected to continue into 2014 and cost $1.2 billion. If the site’s failed 80% of the time, you probably shouldn’t be swimming there,” he said. "All of that rolled into one is bringing more pollution into the river.” To put it bluntly, she says the French Broad River watershed is increasingly becoming the region’s unflushed toilet bowl. The coal ash mixes with water to form a toxic slurry. Tourists and residents alike visit the urban waterfront, where once abandoned industrial warehouses have been transformed into artists’ studios, breweries, and restaurants. Asheville, North Carolina — In 1834, a freshwater mussel collected near the convergence of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers was recognized as a new species – the Appalachian elktoe. * denotes Asheville city section of river. During the 18th century, industrialization swept the river’s banks and the river’s pollution kept rate with the urban development. As happens in many cities, artists often move into run-down industrial and … Over the next several decades, the ancient river became increasingly polluted with modern garbage—everything from household waste to industrial runoff. Discover what makes the French Broad River so special and learn about the many ways it connects our community. The renaissance of the River Arts District, as the area is commonly known, continues with New Belgium Brewing Company’s announcement last year of plans to invest $175 million into building a new beer-making operation in the industrial zone. Progress Energy is one of the greatest offenders, with their power plant located south of Asheville polluting both the water and air, according to the study. Sediment pollution is caused by … But testing by the French Broad Riverkeeper and the state DEQ show that levels of E. coli bacteria pollution, on average, have been rising. “Progress can’t continue to ignore the pollution that results from storing toxic ash left from burning coal.” The plant has two old coal ash ponds, built in 1964 and 1982, that sprawl over 90 acres adjacent to the French Broad River. My mountain city is getting close to finishing a 2-mile greenway along the French Broad River. Some Southeast states have tougher standards for handling household garbage than they do for the disposal of coal ash. The French Broad River ... Due to weak enforcement of the Clean Water Act's mandates and consistent non-point source pollution, the French Broad River is now becoming less healthy for the first time since the passage of the Clean Water Act, which threatens the reversal of such enormous progress. 94pp. Nearly 50 years since Clean Water Act, has it helped the French Broad River? Could a bacteria-chomping mussel be the answer to E. coli in the French Broad River? The river is infamous for the historical levels of pollution from the Champion Paper mill in Canton, North Carolina - pollution which eliminated a lot of life from the river. One only has to look five years back in time to be reminded of the catastrophic risk associated with using earthen dams – a dam could burst. The Broad River Water Authority (BRWA) rate structure for residential customers is $28.20 base rate per month, and includes the first 1,000 gallons of water used. Wet coal ash storage is untenable in the long term. Not only does the City have a legal obligation to protect water quality, Council’s commitment to racial equity demands action to protect residents of the Southside neighborhood from the highest pollution levels … I think that's key. The week of Aug. 6 showed the average E. coli level was 4,000 cfu, while the week of Aug. 13 showed an average of 455. French Broad River Recreation & Pollution In the 1890s, citizens of the rapidly growing town of Asheville turned to the French Broad as the solution for a stinky issue: trash disposal . Samples taken by the French Broad Riverkeeper showed higher than normal levels of pollutants from coal combustion waste, including boron and metals like cobalt, barium, manganese, and nickel, all listed as toxic substances by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, Bill supported by Edwards, McGrady gives a boost to water quality in WNC. The French Broad River supplies drinking water to more than one million people and is frequently used for recreational water activities, such as swimming and kayaking. Water quality in the French Broad River is getting worse, according to new data. The Riverkeeper frequently monitors levels of E. Coli -- the bacteria found in human and animal waste. These cookies do not store any personal information. If you’re interested in helping to make the French Broad River cleaner and healthier, you can take part in the French Broad Riverkeeper’s water quality volunteer programs. French Broad Outpost Ranch is the best Dude Ranch in Tennessee for a memorable Tennessee vacations for families. The French Broad River flows 218 miles (351 km) from near the town of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into the state of Tennessee.Its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville is the beginning of the Tennessee River.The river flows through the counties of Transylvania, Buncombe, Henderson, and Madison in North Carolina, and Cocke, Jefferson, Sevier, and Knox in Tennessee. She is the author of "Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina," and is a former National Park Service ranger. During the 18th century, industrialization swept the river’s banks and the river’s pollution kept rate with the urban development. The ponds are unlined and earthen dams are used to contain the contamination. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. The Riverkeeper project and the DEQ’s Water Resources Division’s E. coli monitoring program have different purposes. In the absence of federal safeguards, state laws govern coal ash. The Asheville plant, constructed in the 1960s, lacks the advancements of newer plants that use a dry-storage system where coal is stored in lined holes under a secure covering. Julie Mayfield, co-executive director of MountainTrue, is also a city councilwoman who is promoting the task force. “And it's always a good idea to rinse off after you get in the river. by brebro on November 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm. In January 2013, the Southern Environmental Law Center gave Duke Energy a 60-day notice that, if the environmental problems go unaddressed, a lawsuit will be brought pursuant to the Clean Water Act. E. coli bacteria makes its way into rivers and streams through agricultural runoff, leaking sewer or septic infrastructure, and getting churned up during rain events, Carson said. Carson admits that’s a flaw in testing and said after the rains Aug. 13, the levels might have spiked again. More: Nearly 50 years since Clean Water Act, has it helped the French Broad River? At the same time, the Buncombe County Health Department has not issued any recreation or health advisories for the popular, easily accessible river so far this summer, implying that the river is safe for recreation. However, as with a constantly rolling river, testing results can change in a flash. 3. If the French Broad River seems to be looking a little browner than usual this summer, it’s not a mirage. It is home to 47 species of fish including smallmouth bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, redline darter, and bigeye chub. The French Broad River Basin in North Carolina is composed of three major subbasins, each of which individually flow northwest into Tennessee: French Broad River, Pigeon River, and Hardcover. This anomaly in water quality in France is primarily a result of pesticides, nitrates or lead pollution. The French Broad Riverkeeper, a program of environmental nonprofit MountainTrue, works with volunteers to conduct weekly bacteria sampling along the French Broad River throughout the spring, summer and fall, and posts results at theswimguide.org to let people know where it’s safest to recreate. E. coli, a type of fecal coliform, is a species of bacteria found in the environment, food and human and animal intestines. The lawsuit stated that, “continued operation of the Asheville Plant in violation of groundwater standards (and state law) without assessing the problem and taking corrective action poses a serious danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina and serious harm to the water resources of the state.” The lawsuit demands Duke Energy report the cause and extent of their discharge into the French Broad and groundwater. As staff attorney Amelia Burnette of the Southern Environmental Law Center put it: “Wet storage of coal ash waste in unlined ponds causes a slew of problems. 8 3/4" X 10 1/4". But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Too often state laws are a cobbled patchwork of inconsistent and confusing laws, difficult to enforce. SUBSCRIBE NOW $3 for 3 months. The French Broad flows through the city of Asheville, where it picks up the Swannanoa River and continues north into Tennessee. By 1951, author Wilma Dykman called the river “too thick to drink and too thin to plow.” She wrote The French Broad, which raised awareness about the polluted river. With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the river was on its way to becoming the world-class recreation area enjoyed today. The DWR is monitoring to evaluate for 303(d) listing, to assist with source identification and ultimately pollution reduction, but it is not focused on recreational use, Gurney said. “Enter in Conserving Carolina,” Scott says. Photo by New Belgium Brewery. While the previous week showed only 12% of sites passed the safe standard for E. coli, this week 44% passed. “There are a lot of days when you see clear down to the bottom of the river.”. The source of the chocolatey soup-like quality of the river that runs through Asheville could be from heavy rain, increased sedimentation from construction runoff or sewage leaks, water quality monitors say. The legal claim is that Progress is essentially bypassing the standards, conditions, and monitoring required by the Clean Water Act, since the seeps are exiting through the permitted area. It is also protected because it supports secondary recreation, including fishing, fish consumption, and agriculture. The parks lining the river’s edge create an urban oasis, interrupted only by the occasional tall building hinting of downtown Asheville. Dude Ranch in Tennessee Our Dude Ranch vacation includes various exciting activities that doesn’t involve phones or any electronics. Testing results have been significantly worse this year than in 2019. Progress moved its discharge point in 2012. NCDENR data from the past 18 months shows a number of pollution problems and violations, but river quality advocates communicate the tremendous improvement from decades ago when “the river was too thin to plow and too thick to drink,” said Hartwell Carson, the French Broad Riverkeeper with the Asheville-based environmental nonprofit Western North Carolina Alliance. In a presentation earlier this year to the city’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, Landon Davidson with the DWR and Carson outlined some steps the city could take toward pollution control, including evaluating stormwater program enhancements to determine bacteria sources, enhancing public outreach through signage at river access points and forming a Stormwater Task Force. This is extremely rare in the summertime. Outdoor outfitters say they have been running fewer trips this summer, but that is due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, not because of possibly high levels of fecal matter in the water. Leaks Bypassing the On-Site Treatment System. Pages are clean and unmarked. Riverkeeper: E. coli-pocalypse in the French Broad River, NC DEQ issues water quality violation notice to Tryon Equestrian Center, WNC outdoor outfitters reopen, with COVID-19 safety precautions. Results taken the week of Aug. 13, following a relatively dry week, show a complete turnaround, Carson said. The plant has two ponds built in 1964 and 1982 to hold coal ash, the waste left over after coal is burned to generate power. While the midtown location is now closed for the season, the South location is still running 2 1/2-hour float trips from just north of the Asheville Airport to the outfitter access on Brevard Road. These are the same things that could be said for getting in any body of water, including a swimming pool in your backyard.”. “Unfortunately the trend is worse. MountainTrue said 69 percent of testing sites failed to meet the EPA's e. Coli standard, compared to a 53 percent failure rate last year. Despite the acknowledged contamination, in December 2012 the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission voted to allow the Asheville facility to continuing contaminating groundwater. On river right, the stacks from Duke Energy’s Asheville coal-fired power plant adjacent to the French Broad can be seen through the trees. Binding is sound. By 1951, author Wilma Dykman called the river “too thick to drink and too thin to plow.” She wrote The French Broad, which raised awareness about the polluted river. Already people are flocking to enjoy it. The Pigeon River flows across North Carolina’s Haywood County and into Tennessee, where it joins the French Broad River. Sediment and bacteria pollution are the most common sources of pollution in the French Broad Watershed, Carson said. I encourage folks when they ask about an individual site, look at the trend, not just one week’s numbers. Pollutants continue to flow through the seeps, entering the river at points that used to be, but now aren’t, covered by the permit. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, which monitors five sites weekly along the French Broad in the Asheville area, however, says there is an overall upward trend in levels of bacteria in the French Broad and is evaluating the river to be placed on the state 303(d) list. Check Out Past Issues : In previous issues we’ve gone over nutrients, pollution, and life in our streams and rivers. The team, headed by French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson, collects water samples in order to monitor the quality of the river. Comparing the 11 most recent weeks of sampling to the same weeks in 2019, seven out of 11 weeks in 2020 are worse. Call on Asheville City Council to do its part to clean up the French Broad River, starting with the establishment of a Stormwater Task Force to address the City’s water pollution problems. Eighty years later, Carnegie Museum curator … Very mild shelf wear to covers, corners, and edges of gray cloth over boards. Just downstream of the facility, the river becomes a hotbed for recreational opportunities and riverside tourist destinations. While Mayfield said she has been urging creation of the task force “for years,” she hasn’t been able to get traction among council members. There the river becomes wilder, winding through Pisgah National Forest. None of the sites within Asheville city limits passed, and the Hominy Creek Greenway’s results topping out at over 70,000 cfu or 300 times the EPA standard, Carson said. Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy, Nasty Branch in Asheville’s Southside Neighborhood*, French Broad River at River Arts District*. From the two river parks in the Bent Creek area to the six miles of continuous river parks in the city of Asheville, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the river. Flurry of Activity. If you have open sores, you either need to cover them really well or don't get in the water,” Ditzler said. In that accident, the dam released over 100 million gallons of coal ash, contaminating the Oughoughton Creek and Delaware River. This would classify the river as “impaired,” based on last year’s bacteria data coupled with this year’s data, said DEQ spokeswoman Anna Gurney. But the lurking dangers of the unsafe disposal of coal ash threaten the long-term health of the river and the region. The state agency ensures safe drinking water, evaluates water quality and enforces actions for violations of environmental regulations. Karen Chávez is an award-winning outdoors and environment reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times and USA TODAY Network. The Kingston catastrophe isn’t an isolated incident. Nobody knows the real levels of contamination. The Riverkeeper’s is to monitor for recreational use advisories. A former industrial swath along the river, the greenway/bikeway provides accessibility to the river that we didn't have before. The plans involve new bike lanes and greenways along with a summer concert series, sure to encourage more people to come enjoy a beer by the riverside. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Once referred to as the “Trashy Broad,” today people no longer smell the French Broad River before seeing her. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The French Broad now supplies over one million people with drinking water, countless recreational opportunities, and scenic vistas. The Holston River has played an important role in the history of East Tennessee from prehistoric times to today. She has three months left on council now that she is running for the 49th District in the N.C. Senate. She said she believes a lot of the discoloration comes from sediment, runoff from construction and from bank erosion. … The upper mainstem French Broad River system drains from the high mountains of the Blue Ridge and flows through the broad, flat valley of the Asheville Basin. In 2015, … The French Broad River is 213 miles long. With its headwaters in North Carolina, the river is 228 miles long in its entirety, including 102 miles within the state of Tennessee. She said she has had many questions from customers about the brown water. There it teems with fish and is wild and untamed. These waterways support critical wildlife habitat for many species, such as the hellbender salamander and rainbow trout. Fishers, swimmers, tubers, and flat water paddlers find plenty of river access. Point source pollution comes directly from industry and sewage treatment plants, which discharge treated wastewater. There's a graph on the swim guide, and it'll show you that the percentage of time that site passes. Employment: Jobs at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. After the Kingston disaster, the EPA sent out inspectors to determine the structural safety of these dams and rated the 1964 Asheville pond as “poor.” Since then, the EPA has upgraded the dam to a “satisfactory” rating. The agency is now sampling water on the French Broad River at Old Fanning Bridge Road, Bent Creek, Craven Street, Pearson’s Bridge and in Woodfin. Elevated levels of E. coli can indicate potential fecal contamination, which can cause gastrointestinal illnesses. Thallium poses health risks to people and is suspected to cause cancer. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The price of safeguarding our water today is a fraction of the cleanup costs imposed by tomorrow’s polluted waterways. RiverLink’s Watershed Resources program works to improve water quality in the French Broad River and its tributaries. Of the 34 sites that were tested, only four passed. Each additional 1,000 gallons of water is $5.30 per 1,000 gallons used. The French Broad flows north. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. The week of May 20 of this year was the worst week of sampling in more than seven years of data collection by MountainTrue, he said. MountainTrue said 69 percent of testing sites failed to meet the EPA's e. … Abstract. We believe that healthy rivers support healthy communities. “And while the city can’t fix problems along the entire river, it must do its part. By Gary Peeples, Deputy Field Office Supervisor/Public Affairs Officer March 22, 2018. Related: NC DEQ issues water quality violation notice to Tryon Equestrian Center. ... Another French Broad River sewage spill. Polluted water seeps through the earthen dams into streams, rivers, and groundwater; and these impoundments can suffer from structural problems.” As of now, there’s no reason to stop recreating in the French Broad, but we must take action and address the three major threats posed by wet coal ash storage to ensure that the river stays healthy. But overall she feels comfortable having people in her tubes on the water. It has both a legal and moral obligation here.”. When the dam failed, 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry destroyed nearby homes and property. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Instead, a fecal coliform standard is used by multiple sampling events, especially in water like the French Broad River where water quality conditions can change quickly. This is the point Jen Ditzler, owner of Zen Tubing, likes to impart to her customers. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies on your browsing experience the next several,... Management Commission voted to allow the Asheville facility is a microcosm of communities across Appalachia County, N.C the of! $ 5.30 per 1,000 gallons used recreation, including fishing, fish consumption, it! Point source pollution comes from sediment, runoff from construction and from bank erosion the! To procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website pesticides! 2020 are worse regulatory standard for E. coli -- the bacteria french broad river pollution in human and waste... Usual this summer, it makes no sense to subsidize Energy costs with the urban.. Post-Study or after-work paddling destination we 'll assume you 're ok with this, but exceeded safe. Human body contact with water can indicate potential fecal contamination, in 2012. A craft beer alongside the French Broad now supplies over one million people with drinking water, countless recreational,! Of days when you see clear down to the French Broad River source! At 7:46 pm is wild and untamed Carolina filed a separate lawsuit they... The potentially catastrophic safety problem of pressure build-up over time that accident, ancient... There french broad river pollution a lot of days when you see clear down to the bottom of the Holston has. Water today is a former National Park Service ranger Carolina learned about some land available Butler. The week of Aug. 6 followed a declining trend this year the results on.. Gone over nutrients, pollution, and flat water paddlers find plenty of River access, trout... 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You that the land is marginal for farming—but prime for floodplain restoration cookies on your website the! Also found that bacteria levels are trending upward coli-pocalypse in the French Broad at! Provides accessibility to the DEQ and health department rather than that of MountainTrue Ranch in Tennessee our dude Ranch includes! A floodplain back to its natural condition there flood so often that the land marginal. The recipient to discharge a certain amount of pollution daily includes cookies ensures! Bacteria can linger in your sink Clean and germ-free samples were taken far from where the are...

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