Last week, N.C. Sen. Chuck Edwards announced the adoption of House Bill 1087 (Water/Wastewater Public Enterprise Reform), which includes funding for conservation and water quality initiatives in Western North Carolina.
The bill appropriates $200,000 to assist the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to respond to pollution spills, and $100,000 to MountainTrue's water quality testing on the French Broad River, as well as other WNC rivers and streams, according to a press release from Edwards' office.
"Thanks to the funding that Sen. Chuck Edwards and Rep. Chuck McGrady were able to allocate from the N.C. General Assembly, we will be able to greatly expand our E. coli monitoring to track and eliminate pollution sources," Carson said. "We will start source tracking sampling in several locations around the French Broad Watershed, including Mud Creek. This sampling will allow us to determine if the source of E. coli pollution is from humans, cows, dogs or birds. We will also be conducting infrared imaging of Hendersonville and Asheville sewer systems. This imaging will show warmer water entering the river, which is indicative of sewer leaks. This should help us find and eliminate sewer and septic failures. We think this is an important step forward to have the French Broad River finally be fishable and swimmable."
According to the release, the funding was originally included in the 2019-2020 state budget that was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper. During the legislative short session, the General Assembly continued its 2020-2021 budgeting process through smaller, targeted appropriations bills addressing specific issues, funding obligations, programs, and allocating federal CARES Act funds received by the state, the release said. House Bill 1087 was one of those targeted funding bills for local water infrastructure systems and projects.