Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper investigates Maple Branch turbidity

Environmental, Sound Rivers, Tar-Pamlico Watershed

Posted on April 11th, 2024

A report of muddy water on Maple Branch in Washington last week took Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register into the field to investigate.

Last week, the water of the small tributary of Runyon Creek (a tributary of the Pamlico River) was clearly muddy, Katey said. This week, the issue appears to have resolved itself.

“It was a lot clearer than last week. The highest turbidity reading was 12.9, and the standard is 50, so it was very low and clear,” Katey said.

A cloudy Maple Branch reflects the clouds above.

Turbidity is the relative clarity of a liquid. Elevated levels, most often related to sedimentation in stormwater runoff or wastewater discharge, can negatively impact aquatic life.

It’s not the first time there’s been a water-quality issue on Maple Branch. In January of 2023, a Sound Rivers investigation led to a Whootentown Road landscaping and mining business being given two notices of violation from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources. Then, discharge from mine turned Maple Branch a cloudy gray from the mine location down to Runyon Creek. Katey said she’ll continue to keep an eye on the creek.

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