The City Council ran out of time in its work session today before it heard a planned update on the Jordan and Falls lake cleanup rules.
But council member Mike Woodard, who got the update at a committee meeting Wednesday, told his colleagues, "You need to hear this."
The gist of the update, though, is not new: the rules are going to cost Durham taxpayers a lot of money.
According to a handout the city public-works office prepared for the update, "Existing funding levels and staffing are not adequate to implement the [Jordan] rules," which Gov. Beverly Perdue signed into law this summer. Falls Lake rules have yet to be written, but public works already estimates between $3 million and $14 million for new construction and $1.2 million increase in annual chemical costs at the North Durham water-treatment plant.
Both the lakes, which provide drinking water for more than 1 million residents of Chatham and Wake counties, have levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that exceed federal clean-water standards. Their cleanup and improved protection are required by federal and state law.
For the South Durham water plant, Durham engineers estimate $3 million in construction costs and increased chemical costs of more than $1.1 million annually -- but the bill could go up by $30 million if new filters or other technology is required.
Estimates for compliance cost to improve stormwater controls on existing development in the Jordan watershed had been estimated at $570 million, but amendments in the adopted rules could reduce that by more than 50 percent, according to the update.