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If the fish are not safe to eat from the Cape Fear River, how can the water be safe to drink?

Ken Little
StarNews

Safeguards are in place to ensure a supply of safe drinking water, said Carey Disney Ricks, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority spokeswoman.

CFPUA draws water from 28 miles upstream in the Cape Fear River for the Sweeney Water Treatment facility. That facility serves as a surface water treatment system.

“Water is drawn from this location because water farther down in the Cape Fear is brackish, or contains too much salt. This source upstream and our process of drawing water are very closely monitored through our compliance program and permitted standards,” Ricks said.

CFPUA’s Nano Filtration Facility in northern New Hanover County is a groundwater-based treatment system, which also draws water from wells.

Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette recently told the StarNews that fish from the Cape Fear River are not safe to eat because of elevated mercury levels that have been found in some freshwater fish in eastern North Carolina.

The N.C. Division of Public Health advises that pregnant or nursing women and children under 15 should not eat fish designated as high in mercury. Everyone else should only eat those fish once a week.

For a complete list of ocean and freshwater fish that are low and high in mercury as well as healthy eating advisories of them, go to www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/fish/safefish.html.

User-contributed question by:
Danny Graham

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