While state legislators are considering a bill that appears to relax groundwater standards, state environmental officials are seeking public comment on rule changes that strengthen some of them – and relax others.
House Bill 643 – which would allow permitting of treated wastewater to be “stored” by pumping it into shallow groundwater without separating it from drinking-source water for well users – comes before the North Carolina House Environment and Natural Resources Committee on April 30.
That evening, representatives of the state’s Division of Water Quality will hold a public hearing in Raleigh. On tap are proposed changes to the rules governing allowable contaminant concentrations in groundwater. For instance, state officials propose stricter limits on such toxic chemicals as arsenic and tetrachloroethylene, an organic compound similar to trichloroethylene (one of the known contaminants at the old CTS site in south Asheville). But limits on other chemicals – vinyl chloride, for example – could be either relaxed or removed. State officials also propose adding a chemical to the restricted list: formaldehyde.
The nonprofit Clean Water for N.C. urges citizens to comment on the proposals by contacting their legislators and/or state officials. The group points out that while public water supplies must test for contaminants and report any violations to customers, North Carolina’s 2.7 million private well users receive no such testing or notification.
Information on H.B. 643 can be found at www.ncleg.net (use the bill-search box in the right column).
Click here for the DWQ Web site where you can link to the proposed groundwater-contaminant rules www.ncwaterquality.org/admin/pubinfo/DWQPubInfoCalendar.htm. The April 30 public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Archdale Building (512 N. Salisbury St.), Ground Floor Hearing Room, Raleigh. Written comments are due by June 1 and should be sent to
DENR/DWQ Planning Section
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1617
Phone: (919) 807-6417
– Margaret Williams, contributing editor