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TOXIC GenX discharged into Cape Fear River

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The revelation that toxic GenX from Dupont’s discharge into the Cape Fear River – upstream of the drinking water supply for hundreds of thousands of us – is a stark and frightening reminder that our health is tied directly to the health of our river.

Clearly this discharge of GenX must stop – immediately, until we know more about the impacts. Federal and state regulators need to step in and require that DuPont fully disclose the details of its GenX discharge. Dupont, as the source of the hazardous discharge, needs to pay for increased monitoring and research on the impacts on GenX.

But the problem is bigger than this most recent incident. Sadly, GenX is not the only pollutant regularly discharged into the river. The river, our drinking water supply, needs protection. Industry along its banks, including the thousands of factory farms that discharge staggering amounts of untreated animal waste, must be monitored and regulated to protect the river, and ultimately our health.

Treating water, even with advanced treatment processes, is only treating the symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself. And as we see now, it isn’t always effective. The idea that we should treat our drinking water after it is polluted by industry, rather than keeping it clean in the first place, is flawed and very dangerous. It puts the cost on our Public Water Treatment facilities and ultimately on the public, while allowing industry a free pass to profits they should be spending on pollution reduction and treatment. That’s not right.

In today’s political climate, nationally and here in North Carolina, there is a clear agenda underway to weaken environmental protection laws, defund regulatory agencies, and scale back programs designed to protect and improve our environment. Clearly, placing an entire water supply in jeopardy demonstrates why this trend must be reversed. Our health and the health of our children hang in the balance.

Kemp Burdette
Cape Fear Riverkeeper
If you have ever considered donating to CFRW or becoming a member – now is the time. Our very drinking water is being threatened and we need the Riverkeeper more than ever to fight for our right to clean water and protect the health of our families.



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Calling CreekKeeper Volunteers!

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We are looking for volunteers to help out with a cool program that keeps an eye on the tributaries of the Cape Fear in our area!  We are looking for folks that can attend one training session and monitor a creek in our area 6 times per year. This is an easy and fun way to get out in your community and directly impact the water quality in our community. If you are interested please email Kay Lynn Hernandez at and let her know you want to be a CreekKeeper!


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Thank you!

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Dear volunteers, interns, sponsors, donors and attendees,

THANK YOU! We had the biggest and best event we have ever had and that is all thanks to you. We already looking forward to StriperFest 2018!



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Cape Fear Floodwaters After Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew was, without a doubt, one of the worst flooding events in recorded history for southeastern North Carolina, and the Cape Fear River Basin in particular. All three of the major sub-basins, the main stem of the Cape Fear River, The Black River, and the Northeast Cape Fear River, saw all-time high levels of flooding at some gauging sites.

The environmental impacts from this kind of flooding are enormous. The Cape Fear Riverkeeper, along with fellow Riverkeepers on the Waccamaw and Lumber River, the White Oak and New River, The Neuse River, and the Pamlico-Tar River, made several flights in small planes to get an idea of the impacts. What we saw was troubling.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (a.k.a. CAFOs or Factory Farms) were significantly impacted. Barns full of animals (both swine and poultry) were flooded, drowning animals in those barns. The waste within those flooded barns was swept up by floodwaters and carried downstream. Across North Carolina there were numerous hog lagoons that were buried beneath flood waters, their waste washed into communities downstream. Massive piles of poultry waste left in fields were washed into our rivers as well.

Coal ash ponds in the Cape Fear Basin did not see significant impacts, as the rainfall and flooding in New Hanover and Chatham Counties was less severe than areas in between. There were breaches of coal ash ponds in the Neuse River Basin at the Duke Energy Lee Plant, as well as a breach of the cooling pond there. As we have seen time and time again Duke Energy was late to catch the breach (they had to be told about it by the local TV station) and the NC Department of Environmental Quality has been reluctant to disclose the details of the spill.

To get a bird’s eye view of impacts across NC click here. To watch the WECT story click here. To read a Washington Post article about flooding impacts to CAFOs click here. The read about the coal ash spill click here. To read the Waterkeeper Alliance report on CAFOs and see the interactive maps click here.

Floodwaters are falling although many, many people are still out of their homes and or without power in areas of flooding. Clean-up of these impacted communities will continue for some time. The bottom line is that the Cape Fear still is likely to have high levels of bacteria that can make people very sick, Stay out of floodwaters, the river, and the ocean (remember the Cape Fear empties directly into the Atlantic). Stay tuned as more information about water quality will be forthcoming.

Shots from Lock & Dam #1 where our education center and rain garden were inundated:

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If you would like to make a monetary contribution for repairs to the rain garden and education center you can do so here!

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f you have information about pollution being spilled, dumped or discharged into the storm drainage system, which includes storm drains, ditches, swales, creeks, lakes, ponds, streets, or directly into a waterway, please


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