Section .0100 ‑ Procedures For Assignment Of Water Quality Standards

Link to law: http://reports.oah.state.nc.us/ncac/title 15a - environmental quality/chapter 02 - environmental management/subchapter b/15a ncac 02b .0101.html
Published: 2015

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SUBCHAPTER 2B ‑ SURFACE WATER AND WETLAND STANDARDS

 

SECTION .0100 ‑ PROCEDURES FOR ASSIGNMENT OF WATER

QUALITY STANDARDS

 

 

15A NCAC 02B .0101       GENERAL PROCEDURES

(a)  The rules contained in Sections .0100, .0200 and .0300

of this Subchapter which pertain to the series of classifications and water

quality standards shall be known as the "Classifications and Water Quality

Standards Applicable to the Surface Waters and Wetlands of North

Carolina."

(b)  The Environmental Management Commission, prior to

classifying and assigning standards of water quality to any waters of the

state, shall proceed as follows:

(1)           The Commission, or its designee, shall

determine waters to be studied for the purpose of classification and assignment

of water quality standards on the basis of user requests, petitions, or the

identification of existing or attainable water uses, as defined by 15A NCAC 2B

.0202, not presently included in the water classification.

(2)           After appropriate studies of the identified

waters to obtain the data and information required for determining the proper

classification of the waters or segments of water are completed, the

Commission, or its designee, shall make a decision on whether to initiate

proceedings to modify the classifications and water quality standards of

identified waters.  In the case of the Commission's designee deciding to

initiate said proceedings, the designee shall inform the Commission of the

decision prior to scheduling a public hearing.

(3)           In the case of a petition for

classification and assignment of water quality standards according to the

requirements of General Statute 150B‑20, the Director shall make a

preliminary recommendation on the appropriate classifications and water quality

standards of the identified waters on the basis of the study findings or

information included in the petition supporting the classification and

standards changes.

(4)           The Commission shall make a decision on

whether to grant or deny a petition in accordance with the provisions of

General Statute 150B‑20 based on the information included in the petition

and the recommendation of the Director.  The Commission may deny the petition

and request that the Division study the appropriate classifications and water

quality standards for the petitioned waters in accordance with Subparagraph

(b)(2) of this Rule.

(5)           The Director shall give due notice of such

hearing or hearings in accordance with the requirements of General Statute 143‑214.1

and G.S. 150B, and shall appoint a hearing officer(s) in consultation with the

chairman of the Commission.

(6)           The hearing officer(s) shall, as soon as

practicable after the completion of the hearing, submit a complete report of

the proceedings of the hearing to the Commission.  The hearing officer(s) shall

include in the report a transcript or summary of testimony presented at such

public hearing, relevant exhibits, a summary of relevant information from the

stream studies conducted by the technical staff of the Commission, and final

recommendations as to classification of the designated waters and the standards

of water quality and best management practices which should be applied to the

classifications recommended.

(7)           The Commission, after due consideration of

the hearing records and the final recommendations of the hearing officer(s),

shall adopt its final action with respect to the assignment of classifications,

and any applicable standards or best management practices applicable to the

waters under consideration.  The Commission shall publish such action, together

with the effective date for the application of the provisions of General

Statute 143‑215.1 and 143‑215.2, as amended, as a part of the

Commission's official rules.

(8)           The final action of the Commission with

respect to the assignment of classification with its accompanying standards and

best management practices shall contain the Commission's conclusions relative

to the various factors given in General Statute 143‑214.1(d), and shall

specifically include the class or classes to which such specifically designated

waters in the watershed or watersheds shall be assigned on the basis of best

usage in the interest of the public.

(c)  Freshwater shall be assigned to one of the following

classification:

(1)           Class C:  freshwaters protected for

secondary recreation, fishing, aquatic life including propagation and survival,

and wildlife.  All freshwaters shall be classified to protect these uses at a

minimum.

(2)           Class B:  freshwaters protected for primary

recreation which includes swimming on a frequent or organized basis and all Class

C uses.

(3)           Class WS-I:  waters protected as water

supplies which are essentially in natural and undeveloped watersheds.  Point

source discharges of treated wastewater are permitted pursuant to Rules .0104

and .0211 of this Subchapter.  Local programs to control nonpoint sources and

stormwater discharges of pollution are required.  Suitable for all Class C

uses.

(4)           Class WS-II:  waters protected as water

supplies which are generally in predominantly undeveloped watersheds.  Point

source discharges of treated wastewater are permitted pursuant to Rules .0104

and .0211 of this Subchapter.  Local programs to control nonpoint sources and

stormwater discharges of pollution shall be required.  Suitable for all Class C

uses.

(5)           Class WS-III:  waters protected as water

supplies which are generally in low to moderately developed watersheds.  Point

source discharges of treated wastewater are permitted pursuant to Rules .0104

and .0211 of this Subchapter.  Local programs to control nonpoint sources and

stormwater discharges of pollution shall be required.  Suitable for all Class C

uses.

(6)           Class WS-IV:  waters protected as water

supplies which are generally in moderately to highly developed watersheds. 

Point source discharges of treated wastewater are permitted pursuant to Rules

.0104 and .0211 of this Subchapter.  Local programs to control nonpoint sources

and stormwater discharges of pollution shall be required; suitable for all

Class C uses.

(7)           Class WS-V:  waters protected as water

supplies which are generally upstream of and draining to Class WS-IV waters. 

No categorical restrictions on watershed development or treated wastewater

discharges shall be required.  However, the Commission or its designee may

apply appropriate management requirements as deemed necessary for the

protection of downstream receiving waters (15A NCAC 2B .0203); suitable for all

Class C uses.

(8)           Class WL:  waters that meet the definition

of wetlands found in 15A NCAC 2B .0202 except those designated as Class SWL.

(d)  Tidal Salt Waters shall be assigned to one of the

following:

(1)           Class SC:  saltwaters protected for

secondary recreation, fishing, aquatic life including propagation and survival,

and wildlife.  All saltwaters shall be classified to protect these uses at a

minimum.

(2)           Class SB:  saltwaters protected for primary

recreation which includes swimming on a frequent or organized basis and all

Class SC uses.

(3)           Class SA:  suitable for commercial

shellfishing and all other tidal saltwater uses.

(4)           Class SWL:  waters that meet the definition

of coastal wetlands as defined by 15A NCAC 2H .0205, and which are landward of

the mean high water line, and wetlands contiguous to estuarine waters as

defined by 15A NCAC 2H .0206.

(e)  The following are supplemental classifications:

(1)           Trout waters (Tr):  freshwaters protected

for natural trout propagation and survival of stocked trout.

(2)           Swamp waters (Sw):  waters which have low

velocities and other natural characteristics which are different from adjacent

streams.

(3)           Nutrient Sensitive Waters (NSW):  waters

subject to growths of microscopic or macroscopic vegetation requiring

limitations on nutrient inputs.

(4)           Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW):  unique

and special waters of exceptional state or national recreational or ecological

significance which require special protection to maintain existing uses.

(5)           High Quality Waters (HQW):  waters which

are rated as excellent based on biological and physical/chemical

characteristics through Division monitoring or special studies, native and

special native trout waters (and their tributaries) designated by the Wildlife

Resources Commission, primary nursery areas (PNA) designated by the Marine

Fisheries Commission and other functional nursery areas designated by the

Marine Fisheries Commission, all water supply watersheds which are either

classified as WS‑I or WS‑II or those for which a formal petition

for reclassification as WS‑I or WS‑II has been received from the

appropriate local government and accepted by the Division of Water Quality and

all Class SA waters.

(6)           Future Water Supply (FWS):  waters that

have been requested by a local government and adopted by the Commission as a

future source for drinking, culinary , or food-processing purposes.  Local

government(s) requesting this reclassification shall provide to the Division

evidence of intent which may include one or a combination of the following:

capitol improvement plans, a Water Supply Plan as described in G.S. 143-355(1),

bond issuance for the water treatment plant or land acquisition records.  Local

governments shall provide a 1:24,000 scale USGS topographical map delineating

the location of the intended water supply intake.  Requirements for activities

administered by the State of North Carolina, such as the issuance of permits

for landfills, NPDES wastewater discharges, land application of residuals and

road construction activities shall be effective upon reclassification for

future water supply use.  The requirements shall apply to the critical area and

balance of the watershed or protected area as appropriate.  Upon receipt of the

final approval letter from the Division of Environmental Health for

construction of the water treatment plant and water supply intake, the

Commission shall initiate rule-making to modify the Future Water Supply

supplemental classification.  Local government implementation is not required

until 270 days after the Commission has modified the Future Water Supply (FWS)

supplemental classification through the rule-making process and notified the

affected local government(s) that the appropriate local government land use

requirements applicable for the water supply classifications are to be adopted,

implemented and submitted to the Commission for approval.  Local governments

may also adopt land use ordinances that meet or exceed the state's minimum

requirements for water supply watershed protection prior to the end of the 270

day deadline.  The requirements for FWS may also be applied to waters formerly

used for drinking water supply use, and currently classified for water supply

use, at the request of local government(s) desiring protection of the watershed

for future water supply use.

(7)           Unique wetland (UWL):  wetlands of

exceptional state or national ecological significance which require special

protection to maintain existing uses.  These wetlands may include wetlands that

have been documented to the satisfaction of the Commission as habitat essential

for the conservation of state or federally listed threatened or endangered

species.

(f)  In determining the best usage of waters and assigning

classifications of such waters, the Commission shall consider the criteria

specified in General Statute 143‑214.1(d) and all existing uses as

defined by 15A NCAC 2B .0202.  In determining whether to revise a designated

best usage for waters through a revision to the classifications, the Commission

shall follow the requirements of 40 CFR 131.10(b),(c),(d) and (g) which are

hereby incorporated by reference including any subsequent amendments and

editions.  This material is available for inspection at the Department of

Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality, Water

Quality Section, 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.  Copies

may be obtained from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of

Documents, Washington, DC 20402‑9325 at a cost of thirteen dollars

($13.00).

(g)  When revising the classification of waters, the

Division shall collect water quality data within the watershed for those

substances which require more stringent control than required by the existing

classification.  However, such sampling may be limited to only those parameters

which are of concern.  If the revision to classifications involves the removal

of a designated use, the Division shall conduct a use attainability study as

required by the provisions of 40 CFR 131.10(j) which are hereby incorporated by

reference including any subsequent amendments and editions.  This material is

available for inspection at the Department of Environment, Health, and Natural

Resources, Division of Water Quality, Water Quality Section, 512 North

Salisbury Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.  Copies may be obtained from the

U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC

20402‑9325 at a cost of thirteen dollars ($13.00).

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143‑214.1; 143‑215.3(a)(1);

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Amended Eff. August 1, 1995; February 1, 1993; August 3,

1992; August 1, 1990;

RRC Objection Eff. July 18, 1996 due to lack of statutory

authority and ambiguity;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1996.