Water

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.

Salim Virji / Flickr Creative Commons

Raleigh residents have until January first to take advantage of the city's toilet upgrade reimbursement.

Raleigh has been giving out $100 rebates for efficient toilets since 2009. It was part of an effort to encourage water conservation following the severe drought in 2007 and 2008.

Ed Buchan is Raleigh's environmental coordinator. He says the city is ending the rebate program, because rate-payers have embraced the efficiency effort.

"So we have this business case analysis, we looked at the program, and we budgeted $500,000 a year for the rebates," Buchan says.

The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) water cycle.
Environmental Protection Agency

North Carolina environmental officials have said "no" to a federal grant to check water quality in areas where fracking may occur.  The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the money from the EPA would only pay for salaries of people brought in to do testing. 

Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder says DENR doesn't need them.

The Tuckasegee River at Bryson City, North Carolina.
Brian Stansberry, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

North Carolina is not keeping up with the Environmental Protection Agency's rules to measure water quality. 

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not updated its standards of measuring toxic metals in water since 2007.  The Clean Water Act requires states to hold public hearings and review their rules every three years.  North Carolina is the only state in the EPA's southeast division that has not adopted the latest federal rules. 

Mark "Maki" Reynaldo

Allison Swaim spent a year at sea. She rode on eight different cargo ships, documenting life onboard and circumnavigating the world.

She came back a year ago with hours of tape and hundreds of photos from her adventure. When she returned, Allison opened up her collection to artists, who made their own art in response to her work. The show, “Hold Capacity/Trade Route Stories, Reimagined,” features the work of a group of local artists who collaborated with Allison. 

NC State House
NCGA

Lawmakers in the state House have passed a controversial bill that would extend water and sewer lines to a mixed-use development outside Durham city limits. The Durham city council recently voted against providing services to the 167 acre 751 project. But its developers have lobbied state legislators to get access, saying the plan will bring jobs to the area. Republican representative Tim Moore says he believes in the spirit of the planned development.

Customers of Cary's public water utility can now monitor how many gallons they use on an hourly basis.  The town invested $172,553 in a system that updates water usage online.  Cary Financial Director Karen Mills says the new system is meant to make customers more aware of how much water they're using or wasting.

"They can see what's going on with their usage, understanding, for example, their irrigation usage if they have an automated system; when it's running, how long it's running," Mills says.

A map showing NC counties in moderate drought or abnormally dry
NC Drought Management Advisory Council

In the latest report from the US Drought Monitor just eight North Carolina counties are listed as being in moderate drought. At the end of December there were 65 - out of 100 counties in the state - that were classified as in moderate drought. The report released Thursday also lists 19 counties as abnormally dry.

Drinking Water: A History
duke.edu

When your body’s feeling crummy, someone will likely tell you to remedy it by drinking more water. Whether it’s for clearer skin or lower anxiety, people have a lot of faith in the healing power of this liquid. But water isn’t a plentiful cure-all everywhere. For many people living in places bordered by water masses, it’s hard to gain access to this necessity.

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