September 20, 2009

Are you concerned about the water quality in the Abbotts Creek section of High Rock Lake?  If not, you should be.  You, your children, and even your grandchildren swim and play in the waters of Abbotts Creek on a daily basis.  The Abbotts Creek arm of High Rock is probably the most densely developed area of the lake and has a long history of environmental challenges.  Thanks to contributions of Mercury from the old DuraCell Battery Plant and numerous sewage spills at the Westside Waste Water Treatment Plant in High Point, Abbotts Creek has probably suffered more than any other portion of the lake.  Now Thomasville has given us what just might be the largest single slug of raw sewage ever at 15.93 million gallons over twenty days in July and early August.  Unfortunately those who were most likely to be exposed to the contamination weren't really informed of the spill until almost two months after the spill began.  Initially the city of Thomasville reported a minimal spill of only 385,000 gallons and were fined  $1,616 by NCDENR, but amended the report on Tuesday September 8th when EPA Criminal Investigations Division made an unannounced visit to review the treatment plant data.  The fine levied against Thomasville could be increased to as much as $650,000 but unfortunately none of that money will go to those who were actually exposed to the raw sewage and may have incurred doctors bills as a result.  The Yadkin Riverkeeper is calling on the City of Thomasville to pay for testing in High Rock Lake and to improve their aging sewage system.

Occasionally, timing is everything.  It just so happens the Abbotts Creek Watershed Committee of the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments (which Thomasville should belong to) has public meetings scheduled on September 26, 29 and 30.  The Abbotts Creek Watershed Restoration Plan is part of a larger effort to improve water quality in High Rock Lake.  The completed Restoration Plan will identify pollution sources, conservation priorities, and potential projects and policies that can help restore the creek to healthy ecological conditions.  At the last planning meeting we commented that we were not aware of any areas below the Hwy 47 bridge that might benefit from "restoration" projects as most of the problems at High Rock are usually the direct result of our neighbors to the north.  These meetings may not be the place to go to complain about this particular sewage spill, but it can't hurt to remind them how High Rock is at the mercy of many upstream communities if you are aware of any areas of lower Abbotts Creek that could benefit from conservation/restoration projects.  They are actually very anxious to hear from you guys and value your input about potential locations where they might want to concentrate their efforts.

June 11, 2009

The July 4th holiday is quickly approaching and it appears more people than ever will be vacationing close to home and enjoying the festivities here at High Rock.  You will see an increased law enforcement presence on the lake the weekend before the 4th (June 26-28) as Operation Dry Water begins.  This is the equivalent of the "Booze it and Loose it" campaigns on the roadways.  Anyone operating a watercraft under the influence of Alcohol can expect to get a FREE chauffer driven ride to the local Sheriff's Office in a REAL Police car.  On the evening of the 4th, there will be two spectacular Fireworks displays on the lake.  Both should begin around 9:15 to 9:30, weather permitting.  One of the displays will be in at the Shrine Club on the Rowan County side of the lake, just across from the entrance to Swearing Creek.  The other will be at the Boat Dock in Abbotts Creek.  This is the River Rats annual display and is usually one of the largest fireworks displays in the state.  Having events on both sides of the Highway 8 bridge is a great advantage this year.  With the recent heavy rainfall throughout the Piedmont region of the state, lake levels couldn't be higher so only the smallest of boats is able to get under the Highway 8 bridge.