N.C. Developing Nutrient Rules for Jordan Lake

North Carolina's Environmental Management Commission on May 8 approved rules to reduce the amount of nutrients that enter B. Everett Jordan Reservoir from wastewater discharges, agriculture, new and existing development, and other activities.

The Jordan Lake rules must receive additional legislative approvals before they go into effect.

The approved nutrient management strategy is comprised of 11 rules that define the strategy's goals and set requirements for nutrient management, agriculture, wastewater discharges, and stormwater management for new and existing development and government entities. The rules also address buffer protection and mitigation for buffer impacts and provide criteria for trading nutrient reduction requirements among different sources of nutrients to achieve more cost-effective options. The goals for reducing nutrients are based on nutrient loads entering Jordan Lake between 1997 and 2001.

Jordan Lake has had recognized nutrient problems since 1983, and the entire lake is listed as impaired because of excessive amounts of chlorophyll a, an indicator of algae growth that results from high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. The Haw River arm of the lake is also listed as impaired because of high pH levels, a condition that can be a result of excessive nutrients.

Activities in the Upper New Hope arm of the lake must reduce their nitrogen contributions by 35 percent and phosphorus contributions by 5 percent. Reductions in the Haw River sub-watershed are 8 percent for nitrogen and 5 percent for phosphorus. No increases in nitrogen or phosphorus are allowed in the Lower New Hope watershed. The rules establish timelines for when nutrient reductions must occur. Those timelines range from between three years and about 10 years.

To view the rules, visit http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/nps/JordanNutrientStrategy.htm.

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