The Department of Environmental Quality has scheduled an online public hearing on proposed revisions to surface water quality standards and classifications.
The proposed changes and revisions include updates to standards for cadmium, cyanide, selenium, 1,4-dioxane and other technical corrections. The proposed changes and revisions are available online.
The hearing is set for 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 20. Attendees and participants may join starting at 5:45 p.m.
DEQ’s Division of Water Resources is holding the online public hearing via WebEx link. Event number is 185-803-7435, WebEx password is ncdwr. To join by phone, call 415-655-0003 and use access code 185-803-7435. Register to join and to speak during the hearing.
Written public comments will be accepted through Aug. 3.
Water quality standards are state regulations or rules put in place to protect lakes, rivers, streams and other surface waters of the state from the damaging effects of pollution, according to DEQ. Surface water classifications are surface water body designations — streams, rivers, lakes — that define the best uses to be protected within these waters, such as swimming, fishing and drinking water supply, and have a water quality standards in place protect those uses.
Federal and state laws require the Environmental Management Commission review North Carolina surface water quality standards every three years and include a review of existing water quality standards, The Environmental Protection Agency’s national recommended water quality criteria, other scientific information and proposed revisions to the standards based on new or updated ecological, health and toxicological information, according to the state.
The federal Clean Water Act requires that states adopt Surface Water Quality Standards to protect surface waters, which are protected based on their established uses.
Comments are also being accepted on water quality standard variances, the fiscal note prepared for the proposal, and other water quality standard topics not otherwsise addressed, such as adoption of statewide recreational E. coli standards and adoption of other published EPA national recommended water quality criteria. For additional information on these proposed changes, visit the Division of Water Resources’ Water Planning website.
All comments must be received by Aug 3 to be considered in the review of the proposed changes. Written comments may be submitted by email to 15ANCAC02B_SWTriRev_Comments_2021@ncdenr.gov or by mail to Christopher Ventaloro, NC DEQ-DWR Planning Section1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1611.
After considering all of the comments received, a hearing officer’s recommendation is to be presented to the Environmental Management Commission, tentatively scheduled for the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting in November. If approved by the commission, the proposed effective date for the amendments is Jan. 1, 2022.