Bird sanctuary compromised

This wetland, which was established with funding from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, is designed to protect the water quality of Beaver Lake and waterways downstream, including the French Broad River.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (FOX CAROLINA) --Following flash flooding that took place on July 11th, the parking lot of a commercial strip mall near Fresh Market started to erode into a sinkhole, the city reported via press release.

Sinkhole in Asheville

The sinkhole on Merrimon Avenue, in front of the building.

The property owner then secured the parking lot to prevent the public from accessing the area, the city claimed.

Engineering officials had decided on a bypass pipe, as a temporary fix, while a permanent fix is prepped.

The bypass pipeline had unintended results, officials say.

The temporary repair was a measure taken to save the building but unfortunately washed material into nearby wetlands/bird sanctuary.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner regarding the material that washed downstream.

Tom Tribble of Elisha Mitchell Aububon Society released a statement about the compromised Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary:

"The Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society is distressed about the severe damage to the Ecofilter Wetland in our Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. 

This wetland, which was established with funding from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, is designed to protect the water quality of Beaver Lake and waterways downstream, including the French Broad River.  Sediment, heavy metals and other pollutants that wash off Merrimon Avenue and the parking lots of private businesses south of the Sanctuary flow through the storm water drains into the Ecofilter Wetland. 

These materials drop out into the pond before reaching Beaver Lake.  Elisha Mitchell Audubon dredges the pond once a year, at our expense, and moves the sediment and pollutants offsite.

Material from the sinkhole has completely filled up the Ecofilter Wetland and has totally compromised the functioning of the wetland.  Until the storm water pipes are replaced, the deposition of materials will likely continue.  Each rain will push sediment into Beaver Lake.

  We are pleased that the NC Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Notice of Violation.  We look forward to a resolution and the restoration of the Ecofilter Wetland to its intended purpose."

Officials acted quickly to get a new permanent plan in the works.

The engineer’s proposed plan for a permanent repair is to replace the pipe from the catch basin in front of Ski Country Sport to a new junction box at the property line of 1010 Merrimon Ave. and Early Girl Eatery.

The contractor told the City inspector the shoring was expected to arrive Thursday. The contractor says they have a pump that is helping move water around the sinkhole.  

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