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NCDEQ taking parts of Pamlico River off list of impaired waters

A past algal bloom near Durham Creek on the south side of the Pamlico River.
Sound Rivers
A past algal bloom near Durham Creek on the south side of the Pamlico River.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is taking parts of the Pamlico River off the list of impaired waters in the state.

Chlorophyll A is an indicator of how much nutrients are in the water, causing algae to be present, and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman said it comes from runoff or industry discharge into the water.

She said agriculture contributes a lot of nutrients from their animal waste, and it’s also in fertilizer.”

More than 10,000 acres of the Pamlico River, running from Bayview to St. Clair’s Creek on the north side, Durham Creek to South Creek on the south side – around the Nutrien phosphate mine – and Pantego Creek at Belhaven are no longer considered impaired.

It comes after the methodology for identifying impaired waterways changed, and Zimmerman said it makes the waterways appear healthier than they are, so there is less prioritization to improve them.

One local waterway that is being added to the list is the Pamlico River in Washington from the N.C. Highway 17 Business Bridge to .75 miles downstream of Runyon Creek on the north side and half a mile downstream of Rodman Creek on the south side.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.