Environmental group sues Thomasville over clean-water act violations

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A conservation group based in Winston-Salem has filed a lawsuit against the city of Thomasville, saying that the city has repeatedly violated federal clean-water laws.

More than 20 million gallons of sewage containing fecal coliform, viruses and disease-causing bacteria have been dumped by the city of Thomasville into streams flowing to the Yadkin River and High Rock Lake, said Dean Naujoks, the executive director of the Yadkin Riverkeeper.

The Yadkin River is a drinking water supply for 734,000 people.

The lawsuit comes as the Yadkin Riverkeeper, other conservation groups and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources press Duke Energy to clean up its coal-waste ponds, such as the one that contaminated the Dan River on Feb. 2.

“Polluters like Thomasville and Duke (Energy) need to stop breaking the law and stop polluting High Rock Lake with raw sewage and contamination from toxic coal ash,” Naujoks said. “Fishable, swimmable, drinkable water is a fundamental right granted to every citizen under the Clean Water Act.”

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