Archived Story

Council mulls Jack’s Creek issues

Published 4:34pm Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Jack’s Creek looks awful,” Mayor Archie Jennings said during a City Council discussion about the creek Monday.

The discussion occurred after Councilman Bobby Roberson said during an earlier council meeting he would like to see the pumping station on the creek removed because he believes it restricts the flow of stormwater during and after heavy rains. He also said he’s concerned with the creek’s appearance, including the presence of duckweed, which often looks like green algae.

Allen Lewis, the city’s public-works director, was instructed to provide a two-page summary of the Jack’s Creek basin drainage issues to the council in September and information about using a particular species of fish to eat the duckweed. The council wants the information so it can make an informed decision what to do with the creek issues.

“When that project was completed, as I understand it, we created a large retention basin by putting in the pumps in the dam area. The idea is that the river side is typically three to four foot higher, and it allows us to take that, essentially, retention pond down and allow, as water events occur in the city, for that water to fill that basin and for us to take it down as we need to … in an effort to allow there to be more holding capacity,” City Manager Brian Alligood said.

Alligood said removing the pumping station would create problems.

“The problem is if they weren’t there, the engineering concern is that you have water flowing back up the river … and that’s going to force water back into Jack’s Creek, which would, essentially, back that water back up into the city and (make) it harder to get out,” he said. “Obviously, there’s some concerns that come with that. Anytime you have a stagnant body of water, you have some issues with it. We’ve seen those. There’s been some conversations about the possibility of doing some aeration, whether that be a fountain or something to keep that water moving a little bit.”

Alligood said there’s been discussion about reversing the pumps to facilitate the creek’s natural tidal flow. Those pumps are not reversible, he said.

Councilman Doug Mercer addressed the duckweed issue.

“The duckweed and weeds in the system are a major problem. I have suggested, and Mr. Lewis pursued it little, I think, the introduction of vegetative-eating fish. There is a very popular fish (tilapia) that will do that. I know that we used those at Texasgulf (now PotashCorp-Aurora) when I was there, and they kept our miles of ditches free of vegetation,” he said.

Lewis said state environmental officials have concerns with introducing tilapia into Jack’s Creek, fearing the fish could make their way into the Pamlico River and cause problems, including disrupting fisheries native to the area.

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