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Black water no threat
The black tint in the water in several local creeks poses no threat to humans.

April 25, 2005


Charlotte, NC - Between Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25, 2005, the Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program received several reports of a dark discoloration in several streams in Charlotte. The streams included Briar and McMullen Creeks and several tributaries. Mecklenburg County staff investigated and determined that the discoloration is normal for this time of year. The dark color is associated with the natural breakdown of organic material, such as pollen, dropping from trees and other vegetation.

Last week, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area experienced several days without rain. The dry weather combined with windy conditions allowed pollen and debris from trees to accumulate on parking lots, roads, etc. Rain on Thursday and Friday washed the organic material into the streams, where it began to break down, releasing a dark substance called “tannin.” While the tannin turned the water very dark, it is considered a natural occurrence and does not significantly affect water quality.

While this incidence of dark waters is relatively harmless, it’s often pollution that discolors water, develops an odor or causes fish kills. Mecklenburg County residents are asked to maintain their vigilance of County waterways and report any such occurrence to the Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program. They can call 704-336-5500, weekdays 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., or call 911 after hours.

For more information on the Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program, check the Web site

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Media Contact: Rusty Rozzelle (O) 704-336-5449 or or Alex Burnett (O) 704-432-0361 (M) 704-579-0288 burnear@co.mecklenburg,

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