Water

Wood Duck
Ellerbee Creek Watershed Association

Honking horns, slamming doors and congested streets: these are the sounds and sites of a bustling city. 

Photo: The North Carolina Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina’s General Assembly leadership is expected to begin negotiations this week to reconcile two proposals for the state’s $21.1 billion budget, a legislation that touches many aspects of government, but has centered on how to give pay raises to public school teachers.

Photo: A farm in Lee County
Donald Lee Pardue via Flickr

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved legislation that would lift the state’s de-facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing next year, but will likely be challenged by the House of Representatives and Governor Pat McCrory.

The bill, known as the Energy Modernization Act, calls for the state to start issuing permits for drilling companies to extract natural gas through the controversial drilling method known as fracking on July 1, 2015.

A photo of a rig and gas well operation in the Marcellus Shale in Jackson Township, Pa.
WCN 24-7 via flickr

North Carolina lawmakers approved on Thursday the draft of a bill that outlines how drilling companies may be able to conduct a controversial type of natural gas extraction in the state.

The bill, which the General Assembly will deliberate when it convenes for session this month, includes provisions on the chemicals used for gas extraction, the possibility of water contamination, and local government ordinances.

Godi Godar (right) with a man from the Lac Tumba region, DRC
Godi Godar

Godi Godar lives and works in Durham, NC. He's a mechanic there. That's kind of amazing since Godar had never seen a car until he was in his 20s.

Godi grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There was no running water or electricity in his town, Ikoko Bonginda. (Ikoko is in the Congolese rainforest, several hundred miles upriver from the DRC's capital, Kinshasa.)

Godi recalls seeing electricity across the lake, where the missionaries were.

"I remember saying, 'Wow, look at the lights there!' It was a trip."

The state commission overseeing plans to treat pollution in Jordan Lake did not make any recommendations during its last meeting.
JT Taylor / Flickr/Creative Commons

The state commission that’s been looking at ways to treat pollution in Jordan Lake did not make any recommendations during its last hearing on Wednesday.

Government and business leaders from towns that use the lake for drinking water urged the committee to reinstate regulations on the water that is poured into the lake.

The state has suspended some requirements until 2016. They would require costly improvements to storm water drainage in in areas including Greensboro and Burlington.

An image from Ice Music, photographed by UNC Professor Brooks de Wetter-Smith within a Swiss glacier
Brooks de Wetter Smith / Ice Music

 After numerous trips to Antarctica, Brooks de Wetter-Smith developed a fascination with ice. He says this overlooked necessity gives us water and supports our rivers. But it is not just utilitarian. The element is visually-magnificent, and creates unique sounds as it transforms from ice to water. 

Brooks described to Host Frank Stasio what it was like exploring Antarctica, a massive icy landscape, and how that made him think twice about the ice back home. 

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt

A committee of state lawmakers is trying to determine how to best clean-up Jordan Lake. The group met for the first time yesterday.  Jordan Lake has large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, which on their own don’t present any significant problem. But when those nutrients sit stagnant in the lake for as long as a year at a time, it leads to toxic algae and chlorophyll.  The state is going to soon start using something called the SolarBee, devices that will move water around and decrease stagnation.

Creative Commons

Algae may seem harmless, but toxic algae blooms can be a real problem in water supplies used by people.

They can kill wildlife in the water and be dangerous to humans. Host Frank Stasio talks with Hans Paerl, professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, Morehead City.

Albemarle Sound, NC
NASA / PD-USGOV

Federal cuts mean the state will stop monitoring water quality at several dozen swimming sites along coastal rivers and sounds in the coming year. The Environmental Protection Agency cut $22,000 from a grant for the testing.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries uses a combination of state and federal funds to test 240 swimming areas for certain bacteria.

Director Louis Daniel says the division has notified county heath and summer camp directors that it will stop testing water quality at 41 swimming areas in coastal rivers and sounds.

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