Public Education

Authority Confirms Non-Toxic Red Dye Placed in Rocky River Used for Water Flow Measurement

Concord, NC – On Friday, September 1, Tetra Tech, an environmental contractor for the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County, placed a non-toxic red dye into four points of Rocky River to measure water speed and flow. This measurement is a necessary component of the Authority’s new strategic master plan. It was requested by and approved by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Residents may have noticed the red tint to the river over the course of the weekend, but Sunday’s heavy rainfall has expedited the dissipation of the red coloring.

“To measure time of travel (flow speed) of Rocky River, we placed in-stream automatic data loggers and placed a non-toxic red dye at four locations along the entire Rocky River mainstream,” said Hillary Yonce, Professional Hydrologist and Environmental Scientist with Tetra Tech. “Our team began retrieving the data loggers on Tuesday, September 6, and will complete this process soon. This scientific study is harmless and there is no cause for concern.”

The red-colored dye used in the Rocky River is different than food dyes. It is formulated as a water tracer and has been used for decades and is approved by the EPA as harmless to people, fish, and plants when diluted at scientifically calculated concentrations, which were employed in this study. The dye used in this study carries a National Sanitation Foundation “Standard 60 Certification for use in or around potable water sources”.

Tetra Tech anticipates conducting one additional dye study this fall, however the exact date will be determined based on weather and streamflow conditions.

The Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County is an independent, incorporated, public body funded by user fees with no taxing authority supporting Cabarrus County. The Authority serves as the primary planning agent for water and sewer facilities, provides wholesale wastewater transportation and treatment for its organizing jurisdictions, and provides reservoir management for some, or all, of its jurisdictions.

Brian Francis, Lumin Strategies
Email Brian

Don’t Clog with FOG

Fats, Oils and Grease—known collectively as FOG—represent the most serious enemy of our sewer lines. Did you know cooking grease, fats, and oils being poured down drains are a major cause of residential sanitary sewer spills resulting in unsightly, smelly, and costly messes? When FOG is dumped down the drain, it forms large, thick grease balls that clog the pipes. Fats, oil and grease will clog sewer lines (the same way bad cholesterol can clog heart arteries), causing sewage back-ups and flooding. Sewage back ups can damage personal and public property. Drain excess grease or cooking oil into a can, cool and toss. Wipe any leftover grease from the pan with a paper towel and throw the paper towel away. Controlling FOG discharges will help WSACC prevent blockages and sewer lines from overflowing, which cause public health and water quality problems. To report a sanitary sewer overflow, please contact WSACC at 704-788-4164.

Prescription Pills: What’s in Your Water?

Let’s do an experiment. Grab a glass of water, pour some salt into it, mix it up and wait for the salt to dissolve. Now un-dissolve and remove it.

It’s not possible, right? Exactly how do you un-dissolve salt from water once it’s in there? Well, this is the exact problem that wastewater and water treatment plants are having when it comes to removing dissolved prescriptions and over-the counter medications from wastewater and water supplies. These plants are not designed to remove medicines that have been poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet. As a result, they pass through treatment systems and enter rivers and lakes, and ultimately straight to your tap. Which means your next dose of water could be dosed with something else.

So how do we prevent this? Spread the word. Never flush or pour old prescriptions down toilets or sinks—dispose of them in your household trash. To avoid accidental medication poisoning, keep pets and young children out of the bottles by dissolving the pills in water and mixing it with kitty litter or used coffee grounds. Then place it in a secure, lidded container in your trash. Taking these steps helps keep your pipes clear and our water safe!

It’s a Toilet,
Not a Trash Can

Never flush the following items (or put down the garbage disposal or drain). Toss them in the trash instead.

  • Baby/Facial/Cleaning Wipes
  • Tampons
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Medication
  • Hair
  • Dental Floss
  • Cotton Swabs/Ball
  • Bandages
  • Rags and Towels
  • Rubber Items (like latex gloves)
  • Fat, Cooking Oil, Grease
  • Clothing Labels
  • Candy/Food Wrappers
  • Syringes
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Disposable Toilet Brushes
  • Kitty Litter
  • Aquarium Gravel
  • Plastic Items
  • Diapers
  • Fruit Stickers
  • Paper Towels

Only flush the three P’s… pee, poo, and (toilet) paper.

Recycle Items That May Contain Mercury

Mercury is a serious pollutant that greatly affects our environment. It is a bio-accumulative toxin that poses a risk to human health, wildlife, and the environment. Although it naturally occurs in the environment, mercury can be released into the air, water, and soil by human activity

Household Hazardous Waste Facility
246 General Services Drive
Concord, NC
(704) 9203278

Collection Days: First Wednesday (8:00am 4:00 pm) and the Third Saturday (8:00am 1:00pm) each month.

Products That May Contain Mercury:

  • Thermometers (looks like a silvery liquid)
  • Thermostats
  • Bloodpressure cuffs
  • Barometers
  • Fluorescent and highintensity discharge (HID) lamps
  • Mercurochrome
  • Auto switches
  • Float switches
  • Buttoncell batteries
  • Old latex paint (pre1990)
  • Some oilbased paints
  • Old alkaline batteries (pre1996)
  • Old lightup tennis shoes (pre1997 LA gear)
  • Old fungicides for seeds and turf
  • Weight/counterweight in grandfather clocks
  • Any type of battery
  • Other Mercury containing items
Water and Sewer Authority
of Cabarrus County

232 Davidson Highway
Concord, North Carolina  28027

704-786-1783  |  Email Us

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