Under the Dome

Jordan Lake committee wraps up work without decisions

A committee of state legislators looking at water quality issues in Jordan Lake wrapped up its fourth and last scheduled meeting Wednesday. What they accomplished didn’t amount to much more than that: just looking.

Since January, senators and representatives were brought up to speed on a two-year pilot project beginning later this year that places floating circulation devices in two tributaries to clear the water of algae. Legislators representing upstream areas polluting the lake favor trying the devices instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to implement the extensive pollution-prevention measures the state developed five years ago.

The committee heard about the history of the lake, briefly discussed options other than the floating devices, and talked about what the state is doing to monitor nutrients in the lake. It won’t be proposing any legislation in the short session, nor has it decided whether to make any other recommendations, both of which were on its to-do list when it was formed. The committee was charged with several other tasks that it didn’t complete.

After hearing from eight speakers – six opposed to delaying the cleanup rules and two in favor – Sen. Rick Gunn, a Republican from Burlington and co-chairman of the committee, wrapped it up this way:

“We’re listening,” he said. “We understand this is vital to upstream and downstream end-users.” He added that there weren’t any short-term solutions.