State Investigation Clears Carthage on Complaints
A report of the state's findings from investigations of two complaints against Carthage has cleared the town.
Belinda S. Henson, Fayet-teville regional supervisor in the Surface Water Protection Section of the N.C. Department of Envir-onment and Natural Resources, filed the report with her supervisor, Matt Matthews, and sent a copy to Town Manager Carol Sparks, who released it.
"We received a complaint from Ms. Bert Patrick," Henson said. "(Patrick) said that the site of the new detention center and governmental complex that was going to be built in the town of Carthage had wetland impacts, artesian wells and raw sewage on the ground."
Chad Turlington visited the site July 15 and investigated Patrick's complaint. He did not observe any wetland impacts, artesian wells or sewage on the ground, according to the report.
Turlington took pictures of the site, including wetland areas, sewer manholes and various other areas on the site and found there was no evidence observed of present or past sewer spills, according to Henson.
"The wetlands had been delineated by S&ME, and a wetlands map was signed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Henson said in her report. "No artesian wells or wetland seeps were noted in the upland portion of the site."
S&ME is the new name of Soil & Mechanical Engi-neers, a Raleigh firm that provides environmental services to the state and other clients. Henson received another complaint from Patrick the day after Turlington's inspection of the jail site, the report says.
"She noted that the town was pumping wastewater from their old lagoon system," Henson said. "The old lagoons were the wastewater treatment plant for the town, and they were officially closed in the early 1990s as a discharge system.
"The town utilizes only one of their old lagoons as an EQ basin before it is pumped into Moore County's collection system. The other smaller lagoon, No. 2. basically holds rainwater. They also have a pump station located at this site."
After Henson told Rocky Davis, the town's public works director, that DENR had a complaint about a discharge of wastewater from the lagoon, he said he had just been there for a daily check on the pump station and that they did not have any problems but he would check on it and get back with her.
Davis called back later that day and told Henson that Carthage was not having any problems at this site that would cause a discharge, according to the report.
On July 19, the Fayetteville office received a call from another complainant, this time Mary Prevost. Henson again asked staff to investigate, which they did July 23.
"Trent Allen and Hughie White called the town in order to obtain access to the wastewater lagoons," Hen-son reported. "They found three manholes, which would lead to the discharge from this facility. There was not any evidence of wastewater in this pipe. There was what appeared to be infiltration of groundwater puddle in some of the manholes but no flow.
"The lagoon was not over topping nor did it appear it had in the past. The pump station at the lagoon appeared to be working properly. Staff also took pictures of the manholes noted above. Samples were not taken on this day since it was not evident that wastewater had been discharged from this lagoon."
The office obtained pictures by e-mail on July 28 that Patrick had delivered to Matthews' office, the report says. Henson and her staff planned another visit to the site.
"Trent and Hughie made another site visit July 30," Henson said. "They began their investigation with sampling at Killets Creek on Bethlehem Church Road, McNeil treet pump station, town's old effluent outfall line (upstream and downstream) and wastewater lagoon."
These sampling points were designated by Patrick's pictures, she said. The staff collected fecal coliform samples and submitted them to DENR's local commercial laboratory, Micro-bac, the report said. They also visited the town's water treatment plant site to investigate complaints of the town discharging water to Killets creek.
"The water reservoir of untreated drinking water was overflowing on the day of the inspection, and the overflow was discharging into Killets Creek," Henson said. "The discharge is basically water from Killets Creek recirculating back into the reservoir. Pictures were also taken of the sites noted."
Investigators found no dead fish at the Bethlehem Church Road bridge over Killetts Creek and noted in a picture showing the McNeil Street Pump Station "appears to be for stormwater runoff from the sewer line right away to the other side of the drainage to the stream." The report says there did not appear to be flow from the pipe at the time of the visit. However, staff collected a sample from the stream located nearby on N.C. 22 at Killets Creek, the report said.
"The town's effluent outfall pipe was located, and there did not appear to be a flow at the time of our investigation," Henson said. "Staff took samples upstream (approximately 25 feet) and downstream from this pipe. The town was not notified of our site visit until staff reached the lagoon for access. Samples were also taken of the No. 2 lagoon, which would have the direct potential to discharge to Killets Creek."
Fecal coliform results indicated a slight elevation downstream of the lagoons' outfall, and DENR recommended Carthage close the manhole closest to the lagoon that would contain any discharge if one did occur, but by the time DENR contacted the town Aug. 6 with their results, that manhole had already been concreted, the report said.
That same day Henson contacted Prevost and Patrick. She explained to them that the amount of fecal material found is a natural occurrence in streams, creeks and rivers from animals.
"Fecal coliform is a type of bacteria from warm-blooded animals," Henson said she told them. "We explained our results were indicative of what we see in our water bodies."
While the water downstream from the town lagoon was slightly elevated, Henson's reports says DENR could not conclude that the elevated result was from the lagoon.
"We explained what the town had done by completing the recommendation of concreting the manhole that would flow to the outfall," Henson said. "We plan to complete a follow-up visit to the sites noted."
Contact John Chappell at email@example.com.
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