EPA to NC: Lower Cape Fear River Swamp Supplemental Classification Denied

Raleigh, NC

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality was notified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their denial of the Lower Cape Fear River (LCFR) supplemental classification as swamp waters. The original effort to push to reclassify the river was driven by the previous administration, approved by the EMC in 2015, and eventually submitted to the EPA earlier this year.

The EPA cited technical details that were absent from the request sent by the state to the EPA, including failure to meet the state’s definition of “swamp water.” The existing primary classification as class c salt water will remain in place for all Clean Water Act purposes.

Specifically, this applies to a section of the LCFR that runs from Toomers Creek approximately 15 miles south to Snow’s Cut. 

Due to environmental concerns such as the presence of endangered species in the salt waters of the LCFR and ongoing PFAS regulatory issues, DEQ intends to advise the EMC at the next regular session that the EPA’s disapproval letter should be the final action on this issue.

For the full letter from the EPA, including the scientific and legal citations supporting their decision, click here: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/Water%20Quality/EMC/07.24.18%20Lower%20Cape%20Fear%20River%20EPA%20Letter.pdf

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