Environment: Aerating Jordan Lake

Story from staff reports. Photo by Julie Roland.

Cary, NC – By almost any measure, Cary is in an enviable position when it comes to water. Unliek many municipalities across the Triangle and around the country, we have a large, clean and dependable water supply in Jordan Lake.

Now, plans are afoot to study a new system to aerate parts of the lake and improve its overall health.

Call in the Corps

At a Cary Town Council work session last night, staff was directed to ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to study a proposed aeration system that could provide better water quality in part of Jordan Lake.

The proposed water quality enhancement project would include an aeration system to move oxygen-rich water from the surface of the lake to the oxygen-poor lower lake depths. The idea is to promote better oxygen circulation in the lake and an overall better water environment.

The new aeration system would float on the lake near the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Plant’s intakes near the US 64 bridge and Farrington Road.

Less Chemicals, Less Energy, More Fish

“Lake aeration technologies have been used in North Carolina as well as in several locations throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in water supply lakes, recreational lakes and multi-purpose reservoirs similar to Jordan Lake,” said Steve Brown, Town of Cary Public Works & Utilities Director.

“Providing better lake water through this innovative solution will reduce energy demands and chemical treatment requirements at our water treatment plant while improving the environment for Jordan Lake recreation enthusiasts as well as aquatic life in and around the water.”

With last night’s approval to move forward, the Town of Cary will ask the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin an environmental review of the proposal, including an Environmental Assessment for the proposed water quality enhancement project. The purpose of the assessment is to consider any environmental impacts of the proposed project.

Timetable & Budget

This review process will likely start this fall and continue through 2012. If the project is approved, the aeration system could be installed in 2014.

The Town of Cary said the total budget for the project is $1.75 million, funded by utility capital revenue sources.

Public Input

“Public input is very important to us,” said Brown, “and the Corps’ review will ensure that information is available for review and comment and that interested citizens and groups can be involved.”

CaryCitizen will let readers know when and how public discussion is to be scheduled.