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Recreational Water Quality Rules Hearing Set

Advisory signs warn that swimming is not recommended within 200 feet during active discharge.

Rules pertaining to coastal recreational water quality monitoring to protect the health of swimmers are under a state-mandated periodic review and the state Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on the proposed amendments and readoption.

There will be public hearing by web conference 6 p.m. Aug. 26. The public can join the meeting online. Register by noon Aug. 26 to speak during the hearing.

Written comments can be submitted through an online form or by mailing to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Recreational Water Quality Rules Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be posted online or be received by the Division of Marine Fisheries by 5 p.m. Oct. 2.

Links to the public hearing registration form and online comment form, as well as text of the proposed rules and links to join the meeting, can be found on the Proposed Rules Page.

Up for readoption are marine fisheries rules in 15A NCAC 18A .3400, according to the division and rules .3401, .3402, .3403, and .3405 that contain the following primary proposed changes:

  • Update biological standards so they align with new federal performance criteria.
  • Ensure equal protection for swimmers by requiring the same bacteriological threshold triggers public health advisories for all swimming locations, regardless of usage frequency.
  • Modify the public notification process to reduce delays and confusion, without generating an increased frequency of swimming advisories for the public.

Other proposed changes are technical. Two rules are proposed for repeal because they duplicate requirements.

The proposed rule changes will be presented to the Marine Fisheries Commission for final approval in November and have an intended effective date of April 1, 2021.

For questions about the Marine Fisheries Commission rulemaking process, email Catherine Blum at, rules coordinator for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. For questions about the proposed changes to the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program rules, email Erin Bryan-Millush at, with the division’s Recreational Water Quality Program, or call her at 252-808-8153.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.