Environment

Don't Drink the Water

No, I'm just exagerating. But maybe I will stock up on bottled water next week...

In the month of March, 2004 as in March of 2003, OWASA will again use chlorine instead of chloramines for disinfection. The purpose of this change, which occurs annually, is to help ensure a high level of disinfection in the community’s network of water mains.

North Carolina standards require OWASA, and other utilities that normally use chloramines for disinfection, to instead use chlorine for one month each year. For example, the Cities of Raleigh and Durham and Towns of Cary and Apex will also use chlorine for disinfection in March instead of chloramines.- OWASA Press Release

I have heard (and observed) that the tap water is pretty "hard" in my neighborhood. You can smell the chlorine when you turn on the shower, I even feel it drying out my skin. Is this really worse in Northside than other neighborhoods? One friend's theory had to do with proximity of the plant, but then folks in Carrboro would have it even worse.

Water Water Everywhere

Tonight the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal to create a public stormwater management utility.

I have to admit, it took me a while to "get" stormwater issues. (And I majored in environmental science so it shouldn't be so hard.) The really important point is that water doesn't recognize property lines so if it falls on my land but it doesn't get absorbed, it just flows right on to the next lot. And so on and so on until you have a flood at Eastgate and Camelot apartments. Or something like that. So we all need to take more responsibility for the water coming from our own property.

This new utility seems like it could be a good solution. But I was dismayed to learn recently that Carrboro and UNC would not be participating. That certainly seems to handicap the whole thing.

Take Our Trash, Please

Orange County has been looking for a new landfill for many years. Our current space, just north of Chapel Hill city limits on Eubanks Road, is filling up. You won't be at all surprised to learn that none of our neighbors in this vast, friendly county have agreed to take a new landfill near their homes or their favorite recreational areas. There have been expansions near the current landfill, which to me seems to violate the County's 25-year-old agreement not to dump any more on the landfill neighbors (mostly black) on Rogers Road.

According to the News & Observer, we're now teaming up with other Triangle communities to seek some sucker, er I mean, some other helpful county to take our garbage and some money.

Will anyone go for this? Even so, it makes my skin crawl to think of selling our garbage to other communities who surely would rather get the money for their important government services, through nice property taxes or clean industry. Maybe they'd like a UNC satellite campus! We've got one to spare...

Cleaning up at Carolina North

Breaking news! UNC has announced that they will begin an 8-year clean-up process for the former chemical waste dump at the future site of Carolina North. I would suggest we should take this announcement (below) with a grain of salt since it comes straight from the horse's mouth.

From a UNC press release:

The university’s consultants, Arcadis Inc., will plan and manage the soil clean-up efforts – expected to take up to eight years and cost an estimated $10.4 million – as part of the Registered Environmental Consultant (REC) Program managed by DENR’s Inactive Hazardous Site Branch. Under the program, the university and DENR enter into a three-part administrative agreement with Arcadis, which supervises the clean-up according to state standards.

Local Sierra Club Picks its Slate

(From a Sierra Club statement.)

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