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North Carolina has an abundant supply of clean water, a resource vital to our high quality of life. Rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers, and coastal estuaries are crucial to public health, economic development, and recreational opportunities. However, our water sources are constantly threatened with degradation by such activities as imprudent development, improperly managed agricultural and industrial activities, and unsound waste disposal practices. The soil exerts an important influence on water quality. How we manage the soil and what we put on it determine, in part, the level of treatment required to make our water supplies safe and enjoyable. This fact sheet explains how soils influence water quality and why efficient soil management helps protect water quality.
Runoff on construction sites often contains large amount of soil and trapping it before it leaves the site is critical in preventing damage to streams, rivers and lakes. This factsheet describes sediment traps and basins at construction sites and agricultural operations, which provide temporary pools for runoff that allow sediment to settle before the water is discharged into water.
This publication discusses important characteristics, application rates, costs, and appropriate use of loose mulch, erosion control blankets, and hydraulically applied mulches as erosion control measures on construction sites.
Construction sites of more than one acre are required to install systems to retain sediment produced onsite. This factsheet describes several chemical treatment options, including polyacrylamides (PAM), gypsum and alum, for reducing turbidity in impounded water.
This factsheet covers the use of polyacrylamides as a means of erosion control on construction sites. PAM characteristics and considerations are discussed as well as basic directions for use.
This publication discusses the construction of fiber check dams on construction sites to control sediment and runoff from the site. To save money and reduce construction site impacts on nearby surface waters, how to install fiber check dams, spacing of the dams and maintenance of the dams are covered in this factsheet.
There are a number of viable alternatives to asphalt for tackifying straw to hold it in place as an erosion control measure on construction sites. This publication reviews these alternatives and makes recommendations based on effectiveness, cost, and application.
This publication describes methods to reduce turbidity and suspended solids in water being pumped into stilling basins or sediment bags, usually on construction sites where dewatering is needed.
Sediment basins are temporary stormwater pools that catch runoff so it can deposit some of its sediment. The typical outlet is either a rock dam or a perforated riser barrel, both of which allow water to leave the basin from all depths. One way to improve the sediment capture rate is to use an outlet that dewaters the basin from the top of the water column where the water is cleanest. This publication describes the Faircloth skimmer, flashboard risers and other outlet configurations that accomplish this goal.
This factsheet explains the requirements, standards, penalties and principles of the North Carolina Erosion and Sedimentation Pollution Control Program.
This question and answer worksheet will help homeowners focus on potential problems with drinking water or other water resources that may be caused by improper lawn or garden care. Use and storage of fertilizers and pesticides, watering plants, landscape design and soil erosion are discussed.
This question and answer worksheet for farmers explains best management practices for pesticide storage and containment. Topics covered include proper storage techniques, pesticide mobility, pesticide mixing sites, following pesticide label instructions, disposal of pesticide containers and how to handle an accidental pesticide spill.
This question and answer worksheet for Christmas tree growers describes best management practices to minimize the environmental impacts of production. Farm roads, field borders and stream buffers, pest scouting, safe pesticide application, managing ground covers, nutrient management plans and pesticide storage and disposal are covered in this publication.