[Regarding the Molton cartoon “Swim at Your Own Risk,” July 27, Xpress:] While sewer overflows were once a major cause of water quality issues in Buncombe County, the excellent work by the Metropolitan Sewerage District to proactively identify, repair and upgrade its systems has gone a long way to dramatically reducing overflows.
The French Broad River does have plenty of water quality problems, but overflows in Buncombe County are not the primary source of the high E. coli in the river. MountainTrue recently conducted an infrared imaging of the sewer lines throughout West Asheville, looking for sewer leaks and didn’t find a single issue.
MountainTrue believes the primary sources driving E. coli and water quality impairment are failing septics, animal agriculture and urban stormwater runoff. Issues that we think would improve water quality are better stormwater management in the city of Asheville, which the Asheville Stormwater Task Force has developed and presented to city staff; additional funding to help repair failing septic systems, which was recently secured from the state of North Carolina and Buncombe County; and additional funding to help farmers fence cattle out of streams.
— Hartwell Carson
French Broad Riverkeeper