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Boaters rally against a project that could pour gallons of groundwater into Blounts Creek

By Juliana Valencia
Published On: Aug 24 2013 08:05:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 24 2013 08:05:19 PM CDT

The North Carolina Division of Water Quality is allowing Martin Marietta Materials Inc. to discharge groundwater from a proposed mine near Vanceboro into two areas of Blounts Creek.

BLOUNTS CREEK, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

The North Carolina Division of Water Quality is allowing Martin Marietta Materials Inc. to discharge groundwater from a proposed mine near Vanceboro into two areas of Blounts Creek.

 About 80 boaters and supporters rallied on Blounts Creek in Beaufort County Saturday in hopes that Martin Marietta Materials Inc. will look into pouring millions of gallons of water coming from the quarry into another area.

Area resident Bob Dal worries if the project continues as planned, people who use wells as a main water source will run out of water.

"The marine life that is in the creek right now is not used to fresh water," Dal said.

Resident Al Gerard agrees; he thinks that the project will greatly deplete well water and hurt marine life in the creek.

"How many fish have you ever seen swimming in well water? so that gate got his attention in that well you dump well water in a creek that's going to happen to the fish that live in the creek."

With the proposed plan,12 million gallons of groundwater and storm water would be poured daily into Blounts Creek. Gerard said that’s about enough to fill seven football fields with water seven feet deep.

In a 2012 article from the North Carolina Coastal Federation, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. Vice President Paxton Badham said, “the water would be acclimated to the surroundings by the time it reaches the creek.”

The company official went on to say that they’re, “not going to come in this county, make a mess, and leave.”

The river-keeper for the Pamlico Tar River Foundation, Heather Dack, said there are other options than using Blounts Creek.

"I think that’s the most maddening for the folks here and why you see the turnout. There are viable options. There is a way for this to happen and not harm the citizens that use the," Dack said.

Dal agrees; he wants Martin Marietta Materials Inc. to go somewhere else.

“If they are going to stay, they need to spend a little extra money and consider other options," Dal said.

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. still needs one more permit from the NC Division of Water to go forward with the program. In the meantime boaters near Blount Creek hope they'll find another option.