THE COUNTY OF DURHAM, N.C. Almost 650 additional homes were to have been built along Kemp Road, but Durham city and county commissioners unanimously decided to reject it on Tuesday night. The decision to deny the proposal is being praised by some environmentalists.
The Neuse riverkeeper with Sound Rivers, Sam Krop, put a turbidity monitor into a Durham tributary on Wednesday.
The reading we received last time was around 100, but today we’re getting 380, 390, and 400, according to Krop. It demonstrates to us how filthy the water is and how much debris from the land’s slopes is dripping into the creek and contaminating the water.
For reference, according to Krop, the optimal Formazin Nephelometric Unit (FNU) reading for drinking water is a 10.
PROTECTING WATERWAYS: The Durham city & county planning commission voted unanimously to reject a new housing development along Kemp Road which would've had almost 650 homes. Some environmental advocates like @SoundRiversNC are applauding that decision. Full story on @SpecNews1RDU pic.twitter.com/4qCrwYJN4X
— Kyleigh Panetta (@KyleighPanetta) July 13, 2022
Krop has a solid understanding of what’s generating that, and on this particular day, the water at that tributary was also orange.
There are essentially 11 ongoing allowed development sites taking on in this local area. Therefore, all of those locations, the groundbreaking work being done, and all the debris on the earth after heavy rain all flow into this watershed, this creek segment, according to Krop.
“Neither can it nor does it house the aquatic life that it ought to. All of the sediment that is entering the creek is either a factor in the issue or it is the issue itself. Ongoing development was cited as one of the main contributing elements when Lick Creek was first classified as being biologically degraded, according to Krop.
The first person to phone Krop to inquire about the tributary region was Preserve Rural Durham‘s founder, Pamela Andrews. Andrews, a retired science instructor who was born and raised in Durham,
She’s been visiting these waterways lately and describing their state while concentrating on the unsettling color she notices.
“That crimson tomato soup is thick, heavy. This day is not as… Tomato soup is medium-heat. But every time it rains, we get heavy soup, and I go outside and take pictures of it,” Andrews said.
Andrews and Krop were among those who voiced their opposition to a planned house development along Kemp Road in an effort to stop the problem from getting worse.
“We think that out of all the stuff that’s happening right now, out of all the developments that are happening, we think that this one was especially egregious considering the community uprising against it, considering community involvement, considering adjacency to the creek, which is an important waterway, and also considering the whole scale and scope of the whole thing,” Krop said.
According to Sam Krop, “I think what community people are asking and definitely what I am asking as a riverkeeper is to conduct that development with the health of the watershed and the health of populations that rely on the water at the forefront of those choices.”
Despite the fact that the planning commission rejected it, Andrews is concerned that this is not the end of her battle.
“What are we doing when we degrade the quality of our water, which is essential for maintaining life on our planet? We need to take a step back and reflect, Andrews added. “Yes, people want to migrate here, but we also need to care for the people who are currently here and the environment,” the speaker said.
This proposed development is still being discussed. The city council will have another hearing, probably after September, despite the fact that the city-county planning committee rejected it.
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