Tom Reeder: Water quality plans on tap

April 3, 2014 

In response to the April 1 Point of View “ Established water quality standards needed”: I appreciate Timothy Spruill’s concern for the protection of water quality and hope others share his enthusiasm for safeguarding this resource that is so valuable to thriving towns and cities, for nurturing agricultural, business and recreational opportunities and for creating an environment that North Carolinians are proud to call home.

In his enthusiasm, however, he is misinformed concerning the progress to further the protection of our waterways since John Skvarla became secretary in January 2013. After involving the input of citizens and scientists from across the country, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources submitted a Nutrient Criteria Development Plan to the EPA in March 2014 that uses site-specific management plans to address sources of nitrogen and phosphorus.

I helped draft the first version of the plan more than a decade ago, but it had stalled. That was unfortunate, because it is an important plan that focuses on evaluation of the current criteria and how it is applied to specific water bodies, including rivers and streams, water supply watersheds and sounds.

Now that we are back on track, the division will continue to work with the EPA to refine the plan. Spruill may also be unaware that, after holding public meetings last fall to gather input on possible water quality standard changes, the report concerning Triennial Review rule making will be presented to the Environmental Management Commission’s Water Quality Committee next month. Once again, an important process that had stalled is back on track.

We also encourage Spruill and other North Carolinians to be part of the environmental regulations evaluation process over the next two years.

Tom Reeder

Director, Division of Water Resources, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Raleigh

The length limit was waived for a full response.

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