Carteret County Crossroads

NEWSLETTER # 83, JANUARY 2000

CROSSROADS ANNUAL MEETING:
COMMON SENSE 2000:
CAN WE HAVE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSIDERATE DEVELOPMENT?

February 18, 2000 at 7:00 PM in the Duke Marine Lab Auditorium.

Everybody seems to be talking about "Smart Growth", "Sustainable Growth", and "Sustainable Development" etc. these days. What does it really mean? Crossroads believes that our community will grow, that we must have economic development to provide opportunities for all our citizens and that this growth and development must not impair our environment. What does it matter if our environment is harmed in the name of progress? It matters a lot because the quality of life and the economy of our County depend on a clean, healthy environment. Lose it and we lose long-term growth in tourism, fishing (commercial and recreational), the retirement industry and the beauty that brings people to our County to work and play. This is what Crossroads means by Smart Growth-- environmental protection and economic progress. Can it be accomplished? Lots of people are currently struggling with these issues in communities, big and small, all over the country. We have assembled the following program to help answer this question.

Tracy Skrabal (Senior Scientist, NC Coastal Federation): Introduction.
Suzanne Hoover (Project Coordinator, Watershed Education for Communities and Local Officials, NCSU): Using collaboration to solve environmental issues arising from development.
Jack Simoneau (Director of Planning and Inspections, Currituck Co., NC): Open space subdivision design.
Nancy White (Extension Assoc. Professor and Program Leader, School of Design, NCSU): Land use planning to reduce water quality impacts from development.
Bill Hunt (Extension Specialist, Dept. Biological and Agricultural Engineering, NCSU): Best management practices to treat stormwater runoff.
Buddy Milliken (Developer, Shallotte): Woodsong: An example of environmentally considerate residential development.
Billy Harvey (Crossroads Director, Beaufort Planning Board): Summary of Panel Discussion.

COASTAL PROTECTION

There is some progress to report on state efforts to protect our coastal shoreline. The 30-foot buffer rule for all estuarine shorelines in the coastal counties has been adopted by the Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) and is awaiting review by the Rules Review Commission. If approved by the Commission and if it is not blocked by the Legislature, the rule will go into effect August 1, 2000.

This rule allows only water-dependent structures to be built inside the buffer zone. The buffer will not apply to those areas where the Environmental Management Commission has adopted buffer standards, such as the Neuse River Watershed.

The recommendations of the Stakeholder Group are slowly winding their way through the regulatory process.

The group working on revision of the Land Use Planning process will present an outline of their proposed report to the CRC this month.

SEPTIC TANK INFORMATION

Much of Carteret County is served by on-site septic systems, (septic tanks). Frank Janer, an engineer and Crossroads member, has some advice for those of us using on-site systems:

Let's come down to earth and be concerned about our on-lot septic disposal system.

Just like your auto, preventive maintenance is less costly and less of a problem than a breakdown. Like many of us, being proactive is how I want to care for our environment. I take pride in being able to protect the water I use, and also the water I put to waste. I am in control.

Our on-lot system has two basic components, a treatment tank and a disposal field. The septic tank converts raw sewage to a mix, which is primarily, or partially, cleaned up. We could say it's 60 to 70 percent clean, but it's still not clean enough for disposal into our environment. It is unsafe, and frankly, it stinks.

After one or two days detention time flowing through the septic tank, the effluent proceeds into the soil. The flow into the soil is regulated carefully via distribution pipes. The soil has been tested and evaluated to know how much flow can be distributed into a unit area. The soil acts to clean up the effluent to about 95 percent, but it's still not safe to drink. However, with additional treatment and disinfecting we could drink it. This 95 percent clean water continues to be cleaned as it passes through more soil and through our drainage basins.

This non-technical explanation has not addressed the concerns we read about for nitrogen and oxygen levels in our receiving waters; that is more than we can cover with this article.

The message we want to convey is that if you are proactive in maintaining your on-lot system, you will reach these treatment levels, and at times exceed the average efficiency levels.

How can we insure that on-lot sewage systems operate properly?

Start with your own yard.

Many other preventive maintenance acts can be added to this list, however they all begin with education.

This is a worthwhile undertaking. It's not as complicated as our trips to outer space. It's a simple matter of education, and perhaps tighter regulations. It's our own back yard. It's our environment.

By: Frank Janer, P.E.

CROSSROADS NEWS

The Board has raised the annual dues for Crossroads membership, starting March 1, 2000. New dues will be $10 per membership, which can be either an individual or a family unit. At present, the life membership remains at $100. We will make special arrangements for those who want to keep informed but for whom $10 is too much to afford.

The Annual Meeting will conclude with the election of Board Members for the coming three years. Nominated for the four positions are incumbents Dick Bierly, Irv Hooper, George Kunkle and Allyn Powell. Nominations may be made from the floor, with the consent of the nominee.

Please look at your mailing label. The first line of the address shows the last year for which your dues are paid. If it says 2000 or greater, you are current. Complimentary copies are marked with "COMP" and life members with "LIFE". No message on the first line indicates a free copy. "XXXX" means this is your last free copy.

Members are welcome at all Board Meetings, held the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 PM in the Conference Room at the Duke Lab.

Thank you to new Life Members John Miller, Jones Bros. Marine Mfg. and Ken and Sally Benson.