Throughout the Falls Lake Rules process, one thing that's been frustrating at times for those of us in upstream Durham -- where a significant majority of our blue county, I suspect, supports tougher environmental measures -- has been the frustration of getting finger-wagged over growth and pollutants by our downstream neighbor.
A neighbor that's grown far faster than Durham, Orange, or Person, taking up a disproportionate share of regional growth. A neighbor whose impervious surface levels soared in the area around Falls Lake much faster than Durham's did. A neighbor whose County Commissioners vetoed a slow-growth provision near a future reservoir site so that Rolesville (who wants to live in Rolesville?) could keep growing.
A neighbor that chews up greenfields for subdivisions like a fat guy eats hot dogs at a July Fourth eating contest on Coney Island.
Well, what do we see today at the (absolutely terrific) site Raleigh Public Record?
Raleigh city officials say a proposed chicken operation in [downstream-from-Wake --BCR] Nash County could cost them big bucks for waste cleanup. [...]
If [the plant and associated Consolidated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs are] built as planned, Raleigh officials say nutrient levels in the Neuse and its estuary will rise. Should that happen, Waldroup predicts “the federal government, through the Clean Water Act, will require additional nutrient reductions from everyone upstream, not just the plant or the CAFOs.”
“Everyone within the basin will be affected, and traditionally point sources, like waste water treatment plants, will feel the brunt before non-point sources like land application operations,” he said.
“Municipalities, rather than the CAFOs, will receive more scrutiny because of how the Clean Water Act is structured.”
Meanwhile, the article tells us, Raleigh's three wastewater treatment plants have spent $25 million (gee!) to meet tighter nitrogen and phosphorus requirements -- and as much as (gasp!) a half-million a year in operating expenses to meet pollution rules.
But let me get this straight. Raleigh's grown at massive rates in the past decade, with the fastest growth countywide in the Brier Creek area, which drains to the Neuse just downstream of Falls Lake...
...and you're concerned that something happening downstream from you could make you have to spend more on pollution clean-up?