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State officials extend comment period for water transfer environmental document


RALEIGH – State environmental officials are extending the comment period through Nov. 16 for a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Union County’s proposed interbasin transfer certificate.

The previous comment period ran from Sept. 16 through Oct. 16. Staff with the N.C. Division of Water Resources learned that comments submitted by email were not being delivered to the account that was set up to receive them. For that reason, the division has extended the public comment period for an additional 30 calendar days and is giving the public until Nov. 16 to submit any comments on the environmental impact statement for the proposed certificate. People who submitted comments between Sept. 16 and Oct. 16 are asked to resubmit those comments during the new public comment period.

The Environmental Management Commission, or EMC, held a public hearing on the draft EIS on Sept. 16 at the Norwood Community Building, 247 West Turner St., Norwood. As part of its role in making rules to protect the environment, the EMC carries out the interbasin transfer law.

Union County Public Works is seeking a water transfer certificate to move 23 million gallons of water a day from the Yadkin River basin to the Rocky River basin. The amount is calculated on an average day of the maximum month basis, based on state regulations. The amount of water the public utility is requesting to transfer is based upon 2050 water demand projections to meet anticipated growth in Union County.

The Union County Public Works Water System provides drinking water to residents in Union County, except for Monroe, and serves customers in the Catawba River basin and the Rocky River basin. Most of the water supplied by Union County comes from the Catawba River through the Catawba River Water Treatment Plant in Lancaster County, S.C.

Union county has a grandfathered transfer capacity of 5 million gallons of water a day from the Catawba River basin to the Rocky River basin. The proposed request will avoid the need for an increase in the amount transferred from the Catawba River basin. The proposed intake will be on Lake Tillery near the existing location of the intake for Norwood in the Yadkin River basin.

The EMC will consider all public comments received and responses to comments prepared by N.C. Division of Water Resources’ staff, when the commission determines the adequacy of the environmental impact statement. The EMC is expected to consider public comments about the EIS at its Jan. 14, 2016 meeting. Once the EIS is determined to be adequate, Union County Public Works may submit its petition to the EMC for an interbasin transfer certificate. The EMC will hold at least two additional public hearings for the draft determination on whether to grant the certificate. A final determination from the EMC is expected in late 2016.

The public can see the Union County Public Works’ draft EIS at: . The document may also be viewed at the hearing or during normal business hours at the N.C. Division of Water Resources’ headquarters, 512 North Salisbury St., Room 1117H, Raleigh. Interested parties can mail written comments to Kim Nimmer, N.C. Division of Water Resources, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1611. Comments may also be submitted electronically to . All comments must be postmarked or emailed by Nov. 16.

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