ONSLOW COUNTY ----- Thanks to decades of cleanup efforts by city officials, scientists, and volunteers, the New River is safe for swimming and fishing again.

  • New River is clean enough for a triathlon
  • The triathlon will be held on Sept. 23
  • Until now it was unsafe for humans to swim or fish in

In the late 1990s, a hog waste spill polluted the water and experts anticipated a serious negative impact on its marine life. When no fish turned belly up, the city learned the river was already organically dead. Pollution from a nearby wastewater plant and a number of other factors killed nearly all the fish in the river. 

In 1998, the wastewater plant was shut down and the city began its efforts to clean the river. Until now, it was unsafe for humans to swim or fish in it.

The city installed natural filtration systems like oysters and wetlands. After all their efforts, the water is clean enough to host a triathlon.

Director of Development and Operations at Sturgeon City, Paula Farnell, said, “People just have to come together, have to speak up, have to take action, but if it weren’t for that, for all the volunteers and hours and things that they put in, this never would have been possible.”

The New River Splash Triathlon will be held Sunday Sept. 23 at 7 a.m.