State officials have addressed issues reported near two utility dams

State officials have addressed issues reported near two utility dams
RALEIGH – State environmental officials say storm-related incidents at or near the dams for two Duke Energy facilities have been addressed and do not appear to be hazards.

Staff from the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, have been on the scene throughout the weekend and continue to monitor locations across the state to assess the potential impact of the rain storms that are moving through North Carolina.

In the first incident, Duke Energy reported Saturday afternoon that clear water was coming from a 1-inch seepage at an embankment on the dam at the Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County. State Dam Safety officials in the agency's Winston-Salem offices responded quickly to the site after receiving the reports on Saturday. The water seeping was clear and does not appear to be from the coal ash facility. Officials determined there is no threat to the integrity of the dam. DEQ and Duke Energy officials are continuing to monitor the site and there have been no changes today.

In the second incident, Duke Energy reported Saturday afternoon that a sinkhole had formed at the base of the dam at the Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman. The sinkhole was on the side slope of a roadside ditch near the dam. Duke Energy responded by excavating the site, placing a liner in the hole and then filling the sink hole with crushed stone. State Dam Safety officials responded quickly after they were notified, and reported that there appears to be no threat to the dam. Dam Safety officials continue to monitor the site and are receiving updates from Duke Energy. No changes have been reported today.

Numerous wastewater system overflows reported
Staff in the agency's Division of Water Resources received reports of more than 20 wastewater system overflows due to heavy rainfall. In most of the reported cases, heavy rain Saturday caused wastewater to overflow from manholes into nearby creeks that are not drinking water sources. No fish kills were reported and there have no reported impacts to public drinking water systems. Cleanup operations were completed and most of the spills had stopped by Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday, Albemarle reported eight wastewater system overflows into Little Long Creek and Mountain Creek, neither of which are sources of drinking water. The largest reported spill was in Catawba County, where 138,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed into the Catawba River. State public water supply staff responded after being notified of the spill. Hickory's water intake is 1.25 miles upstream, but state officials said there were no reported impacts to drinking water systems downstream.

Wastewater spills are common after heavy rainfall. Bacteria and other pollutants may be present in surface waters from numerous sources after any large rainfall event. DEQ officials recommend that people stay away from water if they see discolored water or dead fish, and that people who feel sick or have open wounds or skin rashes limit contact with water in rivers, lakes and other natural water.

Storm-related incidents reported at other sites statewide
State Dam Safety officials also reported incidents at two other locations on Saturday – one at the Glenville Treatment Plant dam in the Fayetteville region and a second at a road near Wilmington where water was flowing over a culvert. Local officials in Wilmington rerouted traffic. At the Glenville plant, the nearby town brought in pumps and lowered the water level at the dam. Local officials notified residents downstream of the Glenville dam of a shelter that had been setup for the residents.

State officials also received reports Saturday of high water levels at lagoons used to store waste at concentrated animal feeding operations in Granville, Wilkes and Alleghany counties. State officials were in close contact with the Granville County operator. Officials at the dairies in Wilkes and Alleghany counties had planned to pump and haul any excess wastewater to other structures as soon as they could move equipment safely to the saturated ground near the structures.
State officials have addressed issues reported near two utility dams
Source: North Caroline General Environmental News

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