Water matters: Hearings and pending bills in N.C.

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

Sandra Moore
DENR/DWQ Planning Section
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1617
Phone: (919) 807-6417

– Margaret Williams, contributing editor


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.