Preventing pollution much better than cleaning up Jordan Lake

Michael A. Mallin and Kenneth H. Reckhow, reporting for the


Jordan Lake is a major drinking water supply for the Research Triangle area and a heavily used recreational area. Over the years, inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus have led to large algal blooms that impair this waterway, causing the U.S. EPA to require North Carolina to devise a plan (called a TMDL – total maximum daily load) to reduce nutrient inputs. Over several years, a variety of stakeholders worked out a plan involving compromise that was signed by Gov. Bev Perdue.

However, the General Assembly is now considering delaying pollutant controls for three years and suggests that using as-yet unidentified technology within the lake proper can clean it up. The best and cheapest way to improve water quality is to keep the nutrients from entering the lake in the first place.