Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to State’s Surface Water Quality Standards

Raleigh, North Carolina

The Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Division of Water Resources will conduct an online public hearing July 20, 2021, on proposed revisions to the 15A NCAC 02B .0200 and .0300 Surface Water Quality Standards and Classifications. Written public comments are being accepted through August 3, 2021.

Federal and State laws require the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to review North Carolina surface water quality standards every three years and include a review of existing water quality standards, EPA National Recommended Water Quality Criteria, and other scientific information and, if necessary, proposed revisions to the standards based on new or updated ecological, health and toxicological information.

What: N.C. Surface Water Standards Public Hearing

When: 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 20, 2021 (attendees and participants may join starting at 5:45 p.m.)

Where: To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the public hearing will be held remotely. 

To Join: WebEx link

Event Number: 185-803-7435

WebEx Password: ncdwr

Join by Phone: +1-415-655-0003

Access Code: 185-803-7435

Please register to join and indicate whether you wish to speak during the hearing.

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that states adopt Surface Water Quality Standards to protect surface waters from the deleterious effects of pollution. Surface waters are protected based on their established "uses". Each surface water in the state receives a water body classification that defines the uses that apply and the WQS established to protect those uses. These uses include the protection of aquatic life, protections for recreation in and on the water, the protection of water supplies, and protections for human consumption of fish tissue.

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 here.

Comments are also being accepted on water quality standard variances, the fiscal note prepared for this proposal, and other water quality standard topics not addressed by this action such as adoption of recreational E. coli standards statewide and adoption of other published EPA National Recommended Water Quality Criteria. For additional information on these proposed changes, please visit the Division of Water Resources’ Water Planning webpage.

All comments must be received by August 3, 2021 to be considered in the review of the proposed changes. Written comments may be submitted by email to or by mail to:

Christopher Ventaloro
NC DEQ-DWR Planning Section
1611 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1611

After considering all of the comments received, a Hearing Officer’s recommendation will be presented to the EMC, tentatively scheduled for the EMC’s regularly scheduled meeting in November 2021.  If approved by the EMC in November, the proposed effective date for these amendments is January 1, 2022.



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