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Hearing Set on New Groundwater Standards

RALEIGH The state is proposing changes to quality standards for groundwater.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources will conduct an online public hearing Feb. 2 on the proposed revisions.

Written public comments are being accepted through March 16. State law requires a review of its groundwater water quality standards and if necessary, to propose revisions based on new or updated health and toxicological information.

The division said it plans to present the proposed changes for adoption to the Environmental Management Commission during its May 2021 meeting. If approved by the commission, the changes would go into effect July 1.

Groundwater Quality Standards are established to protect the state’s groundwater. They are the maximum allowable concentrations resulting from any discharge of contaminants to North Carolina’s land and water. The levels established are values that do not pose a threat to human health, or that would otherwise render the groundwater unsuitable for its intended best usage as an existing or potential source of drinking water supply for humans.

The proposed changes and revisions include:

  • adoption of a groundwater quality standard for 44 substances with established interim maximum allowable concentrations, some with revised values;
  • addition of a groundwater quality standard for three substances (2,6-dinitrotoluene, strontium, and total PFOA and PFOS) without established interim maximum allowable concentrations;
  • organization of the groundwater standards into a table;
  • addition of Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CASRNs) for the groundwater standards
  • the removal of synonyms;
  • a change in some units of measure to parts per billion (µg/L), when appropriate;
  • addition of rule text to add a notification process for the establishment of an interim maximum allowable concentration; and
  • addition of rule text to clarify the triennial review process.

For additional information on these proposed changes please visit the Division of Water Resources’ Water Planning webpage.

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

The hearing is set to begin at 6 p.m. but attendees and participants may join starting at 5:45 p.m. To join visit the WebEx link and use the password jPeFQgQ3n85, or join by phone at 1-415-655-0003; access code: 178 659 9930.

Attendees are asked to register to join and indicate whether you wish to speak during the hearing by visiting:

Written comments may be submitted by email to or by mail to: Bridget Shelton, NC DEQ-DWR Planning Section, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1611.

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Staff Report

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