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NC City Addresses Sediment Issues to Keep Water Treatment Costs Low

Cathey's Creek in Brevard is the city's main source of drinking water. (Resource Institute)
Cathey's Creek in Brevard is the city's main source of drinking water. (Resource Institute)
December 12, 2019

BREVARD, N.C. – The city of Brevard has received $1 million from the state to undertake a stream restoration project aimed at preventing the city’s water treatment plant from being damaged by high levels of sediment.

Brevard City Manager Jim Fatland says the city takes 1 million gallons of water per day from Cathey's Creek, which runs through the Pisgah National Forest.

Fatland says stabilizing the stream is critical for the long-term future of Brevard's water supply.

"Our plan is to get this project finished and not have a disaster issue to deal with,” he states. “So the state's agreed with us. They have given us a full $1 million grant to cover the cost for this project. So we're looking forward to get this done well in advance of any major storm that might hit this community."

The Cathey's Creek project is a partnership of the City of Brevard, Resource Institute, Jennings Environmental and the North Carolina Division of Water Infrastructure.

Fatland says the project is slated to begin next spring.

Charles Anderson, a project developer with Resource Institute, a stream restoration organization, says sediment problems plague water systems across the country.

"Sediment is the biggest problem that water treatment facilities have,” he states. “Along with that sediment, we have other pollutants that attach themselves to that soil particle. And when they attach themselves to that soil particle, it drives it right into the river system and then it floats down."

Anderson adds that when the cost to treat the water goes up, it directly affects consumers' water bills.

"And then when they pull that water out of the river to be treated, that's where they run into the big issues and costs," he explains.

Anderson adds that engineers will use sustainable river-engineering technologies based on the "natural channel design" approach, as well as planting trees whose roots can restrain sediment flow.

Disclosure: Resource Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC