Summerfield neighbors concerned about muddy runoff into nearby lake

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SUMMERFIELD, N.C. — A muddy situation is behind some homes in Summerfield. Homeowners say every time it rains, the water behind their homes turns mud red. 

Jolinda Babcock lives on Lake Henson. She’s seen the lake in her backyard turn from clear to muddy in a matter of months, and now she’s fighting to protect it.  

“Over a few hours, you could see it turn from glassy green clear to just mud filled,” she said. “We’re concerned about the wildlife, the fish, just the heath of the pond.” 

She told FOX8 it started in June with runoff from construction at the new Revolution Academy building on Oak Ridge Road. Heavy rains made the pollution worse, and buffer zones struggled to hold the dirty water. 

Babcock sent nearly a dozen complaints to local, county and state officials. On Monday, a county inspector came out to see the problem. 

“It takes time to inspect and put the measures in place to make the improvements,” said Scott Whitaker, the Summerfield town manager. 

A violation notice was sent to Revolution Academy on Wednesday for two violations.

The owners of a new construction site on Sara Lamar Drive also got one for seven violations. Both builders were put on notice for failing to have adequate buffer zones and protected slopes. 

“It’s actually more of the site of a private house construction near the lake instead of the school,” Whitaker said. “We’re going to continue to monitor it and do everything that we can to return the lake to what it looked like before.” 

Revolution Academy Principal Mary Catherine Sauer told FOX8 the school has addressed the violation, and it’s not the reason behind problems at Lake Henson.  

“For decades, we kept it healthy. You’re ruining our pond,” Babcock said. “Please just do something to stop the mud.”  

The deadline for responsible parties to make the corrections is before mid-January.

If the work is not completed, a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per day could be issued until it’s fixed or their permits will be revoked. 

FOX8 reached out to all contractors involved on Thursday and have not heard back yet.

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