Newly amended coastal recreational water quality rules take effect today

MOREHEAD CITY

Newly amended rules pertaining to coastal recreational water quality monitoring to protect the public health of swimmers go into effect today.

The rules, readopted by the Marine Fisheries Commission in November 2020 under a state-mandated periodic review schedule, include changes to 15A NCAC 18A .3400. Rules .3401, .3402, .3403, and .3405:

  • Update biological standards for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Program to align with new federal performance criteria.
  • Ensure equal protection for swimmers by requiring the same bacteriological threshold to trigger public health advisories for all swimming locations, regardless of usage frequency.
  • Modify terminology and the public notification process to reduce delays and confusion, without generating an increased frequency of swimming advisories for the public.

Other changes to the rules are technical in nature; two rules were repealed because they duplicated requirements.

Text of the readopted rules can be found in North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules April 1, 2020 – Supplement – April 1, 2021 on the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s Rules and Regulations webpage.

For more information about changes to the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program rules, email Erin Bryan-Millush, who is the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Program manager or call her at 252-808-8153.

For more information about the rulemaking process, email Catherine Blum, the division’s rules coordinator.

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