State issues notices of violation to Washington mining business

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on January 26th, 2023

A cloudy creek earned two notices of violation from the state for a Whootentown Road landscaping and mining business in Washington.

Residents reporting the issue resulted in its resolution, according to Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell.

“I had received multiple reports from Washington residents with concerns about Maple Branch running very cloudy, all the way down to Runyon Creek,” Jill said. “I traced the issue more than a mile upstream to one of two properties that could be responsible.”

Maple Branch runs into Runyon Creek, which is a tributary of the Pamlico River.

Jill reported the issued to North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, which sent staff from both the Division of Water Resources and the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources to investigate.

“They ended up issuing two NOVs (notices of violation) to the same property owner on Whootentown Road, where there’s a landscaping/nursery business and, across the street, mines,” Jill said. “The discharge was coming from a portion of the mine company, and while they were out there, they saw another land-disturbing activity on a different part of the property and issued another NOV.”

Jill said she was pleased the issue was resolved so quickly.

“This is just an example of how the proper systems and channels can work — everything worked here. Somebody saw something that didn’t look right, they reported it to us, we went out to look at it, we reported it to DEQ, DEQ came out and investigated then issued notices of violation,” Jill said. “DEQ and DEMLR were incredibly responsive. I commend the agencies on their quick and decisive action.”


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