Protect Estuaries from Sewage Pumping Station

Target: Beth Eckert, Director of Environmental and Safety Management, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

Goal: Stop proposed plan to put a sewer lift station near fragile estuary ecosystem

Wilmington, North Carolina is home to some of the state’s remaining pristine, untouched estuaries. These large expanses of marshy, coastal land are home to an incredible array of plants and animals, providing a high level of biodiversity within these complex ecosystems. However, the area where North Carolina’s Masonboro Sound meets the land, one of the state’s last relatively intact salt marshes, is now being threatened. Cape Fear Public Utility Authority of Wilmington is planning to place a sewer lift station near this fragile area, therefore jeopardizing the biodiversity that exists in this estuary.

A sewer lift station, otherwise known as a pumping station, is typically part of a larger sewage collection system. The purpose of lift stations is to process raw sewage carried in from underground pipes and to lift it out of the pipes once they have reached capacity. From there, sewage is transported to a treatment plant. Placing a sewage lift station so near to Masonboro Sound is incredibly risky and problematic. The location that Cape Fear Public Utility Authority plans to place the lift station is well within the storm surge zone, areas prone to flooding. With the lift station within this range, the risk for spills is far greater than it would be in other, drier areas. In fact, expansive sewage spills have already occurred nearby, causing destruction and ruining irreplaceable ecosystems. This sewage lift station would certainly be susceptible to the same conditions that led to other spills.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Department of Marine Biology has used this specific estuary near the Masonboro Sound as a place for research and study for years. Dr. Anne McCrary has attributed her ability to identify many rare species to the clear, uncontaminated waters of the area. In regards to the sewage lift station, she states that, “the proposed development not only endangers the Sound, but it also violates environmental policy in several areas, including the policy of pulling back new developments from the foreshore as a climate change adaptation measure.”

Demand that the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority put a stop to the proposed sewage lift station, as it threatens one of North Carolina’s last remaining, pristine estuaries and the biodiversity of the area.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director of Environmental and Safety Management at Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, Beth Eckert,

The proposed plan to place a sewage lift station near the area where Masonboro Sound meets the land on the coast of North Carolina endangers one of the state’s last untouched estuaries. These biodiverse-rich areas are home to a multitude of plants and animals, providing both habitat and food source for their inhabitants. Furthermore, they provide a resting place for many species of migratory bird. Estuaries are valuable ecosystems that provide a place for environmental research and study, and this specific location is no exception.

However, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority of Wilmington intends to threaten this area by creating a sewage lift station near the Sound. Not only does this development endanger the ecosystem around it through the risk of sewage spills, but it also violates environmental laws that stipulate that structures must be placed further back from shore.

With a high risk for spillage, this lift station is incredibly worrisome. It could potentially contaminate and utterly ruin one of North Carolina’s last pristine salt marshes, destroying numerous plants and animals as well. I strongly urge you to stop the proposed plan to create a sewage lift station near the area where Masonboro Sound meets the land.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bud Davis via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. Dr. Austin Bowden-Kerby says:

    Clarifying the background information: Dr Anne McCrary used the area for her invertebrate collections, she passed away a few years back. It is her nephew a second generation marine scientist (Austin Bowden-Kerby me) that the quote is actually from! Oh well, no harm done!

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