Chatham Park’s Potential Impacts on Lake Jordan
A conversation with Francis Ferrell from the Army Corps of Engineers
A report by Robin Lyons
Jordan Lake is the main water source for Cary and Apex communities. Pittsboro is a member of the Jordan Lake Regional Water Supply Partnership as well. B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake is located in Chatham, Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties in North Carolina. Operated through a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Carolina,
On January 28th 2014 I had a phone conversation with Mr. Frances Ferrell from the Army Corps of Engineers, who is stationed at B. Everett Jordan Dam. I asked Mr. Ferrell what was the assessment of the Army Corps of Engineers regarding Chatham Park’s potential impacts on Lake Jordan if it were to be realized.
Mr. Ferrell stated that the ACOE was unable to give opinions as to whether they were in support of the development or not, however they were concerned about potential pollution of the lake in regards to wastewater and stormwater runoff if Chatham Park is created. Mr. Ferrell informed me of a letter that was submitted to the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners and Mayor Voller in July of 2013. To read the entire letter go to the PDF titled “ACOE Chatham Park Master Plan Recommendations”. Below is an excerpt from this letter regarding some of the recommendations from the ACOE.
The waters of Jordan Lake and surrounding Federal Lands are managed for public drinking water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, natural resource based public recreation, and flood storage. Development of adjacent property can adversely impact these project purposes by decreasing the minimum flow from any streams on the property, increasing the volume or rate of storm water discharge from the property, increasing the sediment or nutrient loads leaving the property, and adversely impacting wetlands. Again, we recommend that a 100-foot buffer of undisturbed vegetation be left adjacent to the boundary to help protect water quality. Other steps should also be taken to avoid adverse water quality impacts including the incorporation of storm water retention/detention structures into storm water planning and by avoiding or minimizing impacts to wetland areas on the property.
During our conversation Mr. Ferrell mentioned that the maximum allowable amount of “million gallons per day (mgd)” drawn from the Lake is 100 mgd. At this time Pittsboro is allotted 2 mgd for drinking water, Cary is allotted 30 mgd. Cary’s population is approximately 145,000 people at this time and growing.
In the “Chatham Park Planned Development District Master Plan” its preliminary demand projections for the Chatham Park PDD estimates at “buildout conditions” will demand an average daily amount of 4.4 mgd. However the PDD goes on to state:
“The Town (Pittsboro) is a member of the Jordan Lake Regional Water Supply Partnership, which will request water allocation from Jordan Lake. It is expected that the Town of Pittsboro and Chatham County can obtain the additional capacity needed to supply the future growth demands through these sources.”
On has to wonder if Chatham Park’s population reaches the 55,000 estimate stated by Preston developers then the demand for drinking water would be at least 10 mgd using Cary as a gauge.
Another issue Mr. Ferrell mentioned is that Lake Jordan is a relatively shallow lake. It is my concern that during drought years Lake Jordan would be taxed in regards to supplying water to so many growing communities.