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Basic Information Overview

Watershed Information
     Basic Watershed Information
     Haw River Watershed Information
     Current Issues


Haw River Map

Pollution Information
    Overview
     Point Source Pollution
     Nonpoint Source Pollution
     Sources of Pollution


Phase II Storm Water      Management

Impaired Waters of the Haw     River
     Overview
    Map of Impaired Waters
     List of Impaired Waters

Sources of Pollution

Urban Areas | Agricultural Operations | Timber Harvesting
Construction Activities | Solid Waste Disposal
On-Site Wastewater Treatment
| Golf Courses | Mining Activities

Urban Areas

With the continuous development in urban areas impermeable surfaces inhibit the natural filtration process by which surface water percolates to ground water reserves. Therefore an increase in surface water from municipalities such as Burlington accumulate pollutants by means of impermeable surfaces which run off into the Haw River and its tributaries.

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Agricultural Operations

Animal waste, fertilizer, and pesticides all increase the natural composition of nutrients and chemicals in soils. Along with changing landscapes due to irrigation, terraforming, planting and harvesting, increased erosion carries these nutrients and chemicals into the Haw River and its tributaries.

Alamance County is home to 831 farms each averaging 118 acres in size. Of the total 97,793 acres of farm land in the county 45.86% is cropland, 33.48% is woodland, and 11.12% is pasture. Alamance County is also the 41st highest agricultural polluter in North Carolina with over 200,000 pounds of animal waste produced annually.

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Timber Harvesting

When timber is harvested, soil becomes unstable as root systems are removed. Soil and organic matter from these areas flow into water systems through erosion. Water quality decreases and aquatic habitat is destroyed as sediment smothers vegetation. Harmful algal blooms develop due to high nutrient counts.

In Alamance County forests are controlled by four groups:
• Forest Industry (206 acres)
• County and Municipal Organization (806 acres)
• Government (242 acres)
• Private Ownership (125,542 acres)
     Private Ownership is allowed but taxed

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Construction Activities

Significant sedimentation problems result from the excavating, grading, and filling processes associated with construction. Sediment accounts for 71% of storm water runoff from construction. Storm water carrying sediment as well as hazardous construction material accumulates and flows rapidly into the Haw River due to the increase in impermeable surfaces.

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Solid Waste Disposal

Residential, commercial, and industrial communities release solid waste into the Haw River watershed. Solid waste disposal must be managed in two ways. First leachate control must be initiated which will control the amount of solid waste seeping into the ground. Second soils which cover solid wastes must be stabilized.

Alamance County produces 143,345 tons of waste per year. Of this waste 110 tons is exported out of the county and 373 tons is recyclable. Currently there are five solid waste disposal permits issued in Alamance County.

Solid Waste Disposal Permits in Alamance County include:
• Austin Quarters Plant (Construction and demolition landfill permit, DLF, in Saxaphaw)
• Austin Quarters Plant (Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, MSWLF)
• Cobles C&D Landfill (Construction and Demolition Landfill in Liberty)
• Carolina Resource Recovery (Compost permit in Mebane)
• Stericycle (Incinerator permit in Graham)

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On-Site Wastewater Treatment

On-Site treatment refers to septic tank systems. If not adequately maintained human waste can escape from these systems. Currently the Commission for Health Services monitor these systems and is working to eliminate the use of old unregistered tanks. There are no septage storage detention and treatment facilities in Alamance County.

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Golf Courses

The construction and development of golf courses leads to three major environmental problems:
• Erosion due to construction of the course
• Management of turf through the use of chemicals and fertilizers increasing their concentration in storm water runoff
• Changes of water accumulation patterns due to landscape alteration affecting water quality

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Mining Activities

Mining operations destabilize soil and release harmful chemicals to the environment producing ecosystem problems. Four mining permits are currently issued in Alamance County.
• Burlington Quarry ( Burlington)
• Burlington Quarry (Gibsonville)
• Haw River Quarry ( Burlington)
• Morrow (Saxapahaw)

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