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Big Fines Levied For Water Violations

Thousands of dollars in fines have been issued to local governments, school districts and private businesses for repeatedly violating state water quality standards.  That's the finding of a scathing 17-month report compiled by Carolina Public Press, a media partner to News 13.

"The past two years we've had a couple fines on it, several violations," said Belvin Hall of Buncombe County Schools, one of the entities fined by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.   

BCS made the list because of multiple violations at North Buncombe High and several elementary schools that use septic tanks to treat waste water.  The fines kick in when tests show unacceptable levels of bacteria in the septic tank, which can be caused by simply washing a load of sports uniforms.  So far Buncombe schools have been fined over $9,700.

But they're not alone.  Henderson County Schools got over a thousand dollars worth, and the City of Brevard was hit with over $31,000 in fines for similar water quality violations.  The fines have to be paid with taxpayers dollars, but Buncombe school leaders say the fines are much cheaper than connecting to the city sewer system.

"The closest sewer is we have is about four and a half miles away.  To pipe it that far would cost over two million dollars," said Hall.  So, they opted for a cheaper fix, expanding the current septic system at North Buncombe High at a cost of $350,000.

Click here to see the complete data on water quality violations from our partners at Carolina Public Press.

By: Mario Boone,
Follow on Twitter: @marioboone


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