RALEIGH: Committee weighs how to protect water in Jordan Lake - WNCN: News, Weather

Committee weighs how to protect water in Jordan Lake

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The threat of pollution in Jordan Lake has stirred up debate in the Triangle and the Triad.

On Wednesday, the Legislative Research Commission held the last of a series of meetings on the water quality of the lake.

Jordan Lake provides drinking water for 300,000 people, and that's expected to increase as the population in the Triangle grows.

The General Assembly passed a bill last year to delay the “Jordan Rules” on water quality for three to six years, so it could consider the Solarbee pilot project. The project would use floating solar-powered devices placed on the rivers that flow into the lake to tackle the growth of algae.

Six speakers spoke during public comment Wednesday. Most of them asked legislators to treat the problem from the source.

“We should just be able to have fun in that lake. It’s a beautiful lake. We shouldn’t have to tell them, ‘Be careful, don’t get a sip of this water in your mouth.’ That’s ridiculous,” said Sean McCarthy, who runs a Durham outdoor adventure group.

Marlene Sanford, the president of Triad Real Estate and Building, said, “It would be wonderful for us to stand here and say our growth rate is as strong as it is in the Triangle. And if that were the case, I’m sure local governments would have gone forward with that new government rule.”

A representative with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Tom Reeder, said they've never tried a project on the scale of the Solarbee project before.

Some of the representatives wanted more specifics about how effective the plan would be. Legislators say it's unlikely they'll take action this session, which begins in May.

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