“ Because of surface water pollutants from the High Point area, the reservoir is located poorly for both water supply and recreation. 1
Environmental Protection Agency 1976

25 years ago the Environmental Protection Agency calculated a dangerous level of phosphorus contamination flowing into the proposed Randleman reservoir would be reached at 14,218 pounds per year.2

The latest estimates show the streams flowing into the proposed Randleman reservoir
(non point source) would contaminate the lake with nearly 42,000 pounds of
phosphorus per year.3

In 1976 , the EPA concluded the Randleman reservoir could be constructed with the condition that NO WASTEWATER from the City of High Point Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant (point source)would be allowed in the lake. The load of phosphorus contamination flowing from the 9.0 million gallon a day wastewater discharge alone would have pushed the impoundment in the dangerous category.4

Today, the plan to pipe directly into the lake up to 26 million gallons a day of wastewater from the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant has been approved.

‘ There ought’a be a law ! ‘

There is a law .

The Deep River Coalition and the American Canoe Association are contesting the Clean Water Act Sec. 401 Water Quality Certification that has been issued for the Randleman Dam by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

The approved 401 Water Quality Certification provides that the building of the Randleman project will not result in a violation of the states water quality standards.

The water quality standard in question is the standard that measures the amount of photosynthetic pigment (algae) in the water; the chlorophyll-a standard.

“ The reason the Randleman Dam project will unquestionably result in violations of the water-quality standard for chlorophyll-a is that there are too many nutrients entering the Deep River from non-point and point sources.’”5

The EPA calculated the dangerous load of phosphorus going into the proposed Randleman project at 14,218 pounds per year. The Randleman project engineers have calculated 169,534 pounds of phosphorus going into the proposed impoundment .6 The poor location of the proposed project cannot be fixed. The massive amounts of urban stormwater pollution added to the degradation from the sewage treatment plant direct discharge into the proposed “lake” will result in water quality conditions that fail to meet the EPA recommended goal of not exceeding the 40 ug / l chlorophyll-a water quality standard more than 5% of the time .7

The fact that there will be water quality violations is not disputed by the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority:

“ The Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority released a study Tuesday(February 5, 1998), which said it could not possibly meet state limits on algae in one corner of the proposed reservoir. “8

At that time, the Division of Water Quality was going to stand firm.

“ ‘At no point in this process has anybody in the Division of Water Quality suggested to the Piedmont Triad water authority that these standards only apply part of the time and to part of the lake,’ said Preston Howard, director of the N.C. Division of Water Quality. ‘ We have been and continue to be committed to working with the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority on the permitting of this lake, but we are going to abide by state law.’ “9

Thirteen months after making that statement, on his last day as Director of the Division of Water Quality, Mr. Howard approved the 401 Certification for the Randleman Dam.

There is no evidence to support the 401 Certification claim that there is “ adequate assurance that the discharge of fill material into the water of Deep River and the proposed development will not result in a violation of the applicable Water Quality Standards “.10
To the contrary, the final water quality modeling of chlorophyll-a values predicted violations of the standard 37 % of the time.11


The North Carolina water quality standard for chlorophyll-a shall not be “ greater than 40 ug/ l for lakes, reservoirs, and other slow-moving waters not designated as trout waters***.”
15A NCAC 2B.0211(3)(a)

Water with chlorophyll-a values greater than 30 ug/ l may be expected to show signs of , “very deep discoloration; intense matting of algal scum.”(Raschke, 1993)12

Nutrient modeling for the proposed Randleman project; incorporating the benefits of measures that were not implemented in the Randleman Rules for nutrient reduction, predicted the average chlorophyll-a value for the upper arm of the proposed reservoir of 39 ug/ l.13 The model results incorporated the proposed Option B nutrient reduction measures over the entire Randleman watershed that were not adopted the Environmental Management Commission. The WS IV regulations will allow a greater degree of impervious surface. The model results therefore incorporated nutrient reductions that will not be realized. Actual chlorophyll-a values will be higher with a greater frequency of violations of the standard.

Link to additional information on harmful effects of Chlorophyll-a

An additional argument in our case addresses the approval of the 401 Certification prior to publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement .

In an August 20, 1997 letter to the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority, John Dorney, N.C. Division of Water Quality(DWQ) stated:

“ DWQ cannot issue the 401 Certification until the project has received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or Record of Decision (ROD) from the State Clearinghouse in accordance with [Rule 0402]. Therefore, I must hereby place this project on indefinite hold until the State Clearinghouse has issued the FONSI of ROD.”14

The contested 401 Certification was issued on March 11, 1999; prior to the publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement and the subsequent FONSI or ROD.

Rule 0402 states : “ While work on an environmental document is in progress, no agency shall undertake in the interim any action which might limit the choice among alternatives or otherwise prejudice the ultimate decision on the issue.”

The full text of our arguments before the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission is available at the Environmental Mediation and Information Services web site.
Week of August 28 - September 4, 2000 of the “ What's Hot “ section at:


1 Jack E. Ravan, EPA Region IV Regional Administrator, September 22, 1976, “ Final Environmental Impact Statement Randleman Lake” , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, October 1976, Appendix C, p.C-1.

2 Jack E. Ravan, EPA Region IV Regional Administrator, February 13, 1975, “Randleman Lake Design Memorandum 3” , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, October 1976, Vol.II, App. 2, p. 6

3 Jayson Doll, North Carolina Division of Water Quality, Modeling/TMDL Unit, MEMORANDUM “Draft Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Proposed Randleman Reservoir, Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority (February, 1998),February 24, 1998

4 Ravan, February 13, 1975,p.10

5 “Memorandum in Support of Petitioners Exceptions to the Office of Administrative Hearings’ Recommended Decision”, Case No. 99 EHR 0560, July 26,2000, p.34.

6 “ Randleman Lake Nutrient Reduction Strategy and Implementation Plan March 1998 ” Hazen and Sawyer , Sec.1 p.ES 2, [58,000 kg Eastside WWTP] p.ES7, [18,900 kg average flow non-point]
.[kg X 2.2046= pounds]

7 Ibid. p. ES 1.

8 “ Water officials think they can reach a compromise on reservoir ” by Scott Andron, The News & Record,
February 6, 1998.

9 Ibid.

10 Memorandum p. 31.

11 Ibid. p. 43.

12 A Decision Support System for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control, NCSU Water Quality Group, North Carolina State University, November 1998,Water Quality and Land Treatment Education Component, Algae, p.1.

13 Report of Proceedings, Proposed Reclassification of Segments of the Deep River (Proposed Randleman Reservoir), Public Hearing, September 1, 1998, State of North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, p.8.

14 Ibid. p. 20.