ATLANTA — The Environmental Protection Agency awarded on Monday more than $3 million to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to implement and enforce requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The award was made under the Public Water System Supervision program and will go toward NCDEQ’s oversight of the 5,677 public water systems serving about 9 million people.
The grants are used to ensure that public drinking water systems of all types and sizes comply with drinking water regulations. When systems are found to be in violation, funds are used to help bring the systems back into compliance. NCDEQ has authority to develop its own regulations and requirements that are more stringent than federal requirements. A portion of the funds can be used by the state to prepare to implement new drinking water regulations that are to take effect in the current or following year.
The funding is to assist North Carolina in continuing to implement the Revised Total Coliform Rule, a major new drinking water regulation intended to reduce the incidence of fecal contamination in public water systems. It’s also to help the state in inspecting about 2,200 water systems to identify and require correction of deficiencies that can pose serious risks to public health. It will also support NCDEQ staff in conducting about 3,000 site visits to assist water systems in investigating customer complaints, solving site-specific operational problems, and returning to compliance after experiencing violations.
This funding is EPA’s second award to NCDEQ in fiscal 2017. NCDEQ initially received $1.78 million to support drinking water-related environmental programs.