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An Introduction to NC’s Water Quality Program and *Nonpoint Source Pollution. Division of Water Quality WQ Planning Branch NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. * Also known as Runoff Pollution. Overview of Presentation. Growth issues in NC Affecting NPS Pollution

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an introduction to nc s water quality program and nonpoint source pollution

An Introduction to NC’sWater Quality Programand *Nonpoint Source Pollution

Division of Water Quality

WQ Planning Branch

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

* Also known as Runoff Pollution

overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation
  • Growth issues in NC Affecting NPS Pollution
  • Introduction to the DWQ’s WQ Program
  • Primary Goals of the WQ Program
  • Major Sources of Pollution (Point/NPS)
  • Impacts of Pollution on Water Quality
  • How do We Measure Water Quality?
  • How is the WQ in North Carolina?
nc population growth 1670 2000
NC Population Growth (1670-2000)

8

7

6

5

Population

(Millions)

4

3

2

1

0

1

6

7

0

1

7

0

0

1

7

5

0

1

8

0

0

1

8

5

0

1

9

0

0

1

9

5

0

2

0

0

0

Year

NC’s population has been doubling every 50 years for the past 200 years! What will be the impact of 8 million more people by 2050?

nc land cover changes 1982 97 acres x 1000
NC Land Cover Changes 1982-97(acres x 1000)

% Changes

Agric. -13.4%

Forest -6.9%

Urban +88.1%

Source: USDA NRCS

National Resources

Inventory (1997)

known primarily as a regulatory agency but
Known primarily as a regulatory agency, but…
  • DWQ Permitting Programs
  • Discharge permits
  • Nondischarge permits
  • Wetlands permits
  • Riparian buffer protection
  • Others
planning
Planning,
  • Basinwide Planning
  • Stream classifications
  • Rule development
primary goal of nc s water quality program
Primary Goal of NC’s Water Quality Program

Protect and Restore uses of North Carolina’s surface waters.

Uses include:

slide15

Fishing and

Swimming

slide17

High Quality Waters (HQW) and

Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW)

major sources of pollution
Major Sources of Pollution

Point Sources and

Nonpoint Sources

point sources of pollution
Point Sources of Pollution

Comes from a pipe, discrete point or ditch. Generally associated with a wastewater discharge but includes urban or industrial stormwater discharges

nonpoint sources of pollution nps
*Nonpoint Sources of Pollution (NPS)

Pollution reaching waterways from rainfall runoff, atmospheric deposition and groundwater flow. Impacts result from cumulative effects of many small activities. (*Also known as Runoff Pollution)

slide21

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Land Development

If not done properly, this can result in:

  • Increased Imperviousness
  • Increased Pollutants
  • Increased Runoff
  • Impacts to Stream Banks
  • Erosion/Sedimentation
slide22

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Construction and GradingThe major runoff pollution pollutant is sedimentation. Sediment control measures need to be properly designed, installed and maintained until the site is stabilized. Problems can also result fro improperly handling fuel and chemicals at construction sites.

slide23

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Urban stormwaterA major impact is runoff from impervious surfaces which erodes streams and destroys aquatic habitat is the major impact from urban stormwater. Urban runoff also carries high fecal coliform levels from pet and wildlife wastes, fertilizer and pesticides from yards and landscaped areas, auto-related pollutants such as oil, grease, and abraded tire material, and pollutants contained in atmospheric deposition.

slide24

NPS/Runoff Pollution

AgricultureImpacts come from cropland and animal operations. Common pollutants are sediment, nutrients and fecal coliform bacteria (animal operations). Agriculture is the leading source of nonpoint source pollution in NC although it should be noted that this impact is shrinking as ag land is converted to development and as sediment control measures such as no-till farming become more widespread.

slide25

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Land disposal of wastewaterThis includes onsite wastewater systems (e.g., septic systems), spray irrigation, sludge disposal and landfills.

slide26

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Silviculture (Forestry)Forest cover is generally excellent for protection of water quality. However, water quality problems can occur from improper harvesting techniques such as clearing next to streams and not using adequate BMPs for sediment control . In eastern NC, ditching, which changes the nature hydrology, also adversely impacts water quality by increasing the rate of runoff

slide27

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Atmospheric DepositionThe atmosphere is a significant source of water pollution. This includes acid rain, nitrogen compounds (which come from cars, industry and animal operations and contribute to nutrient overenrichment and algal blooms) and mercury (which has resulted in fish consumption advisories across NC , particularly in the Coastal Plain).

slide28

NPS/Runoff Pollution

Marinas and Recreational BoatingRunoff pollution comes primarily from paved areas and service yards, oil and gas leakage, and improper disposal of human wastes.

slide31

Algae Blooms and Aquatic WeedsComes from an excess of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from both point and nonpoint sources

slide32

Fish kills (most often resulting from low dissolved oxygen associated with algal blooms and/or hot weather)

slide33

Habitat degradationMostly a nonpoint source problem resulting from improperly performed land disturbing activities (such as construction, farming and forestry which allow excessive sediment runoff) and post development stormwater runoff in urban areas (which increases the flow of stormwater and erodes stream channels)

slide34

Closed shellfish watersCaused by pathogen contamination as indicated by high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. The bacteria come mostly from runoff in developed areas containing wildlife and pet wastes. Can also come from leaking sewer systems and pump stations, improper sewage treatment, failing septic systems and improperly handled farm animal wastes.

slide35

Unsafe swimming conditionsResults from pathogen contamination as evidenced by elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Can come from a variety of sources including wildlife and pet wastes, leaking sewer systems and pump stations, improper sewage treatment, failing septic systems and improperly handled farm animal wastes.

slide36

How Do We Measure

Water Quality?

Biological and chemical water

quality testing is done by DWQ as shown in the

following slides to determine whether waters are supporting the intended uses

slide37

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sampling

This technique utilizes the varying

pollutant sensitivities among different

aquatic organisms, such as aquatic

insect larvae, as a water quality indicator.

Assessing the types and numbers of

species gives an indication of water

quality.

slide38

Fish community and tissue sampling

Assessing the numbers, diversity

and health of fish communities is

another way to assess water

quality. Tissues of fish are also

sampled to determine whether

they are safe to eat.

slide39

Ambient Water Quality Monitoring

Chemical water quality sampling is performed monthly at almost 400 stations around the state in streams, lakes and salt waters. Many parameters are studied such as pH, metals, bacteria, dissolved oxygen and others. This sampling helps DWQ determine water trends and problem areas.

slide40

WaterChemistry

DWQ’s lab analyzes

ambient and other water

quality samples.

slide41

Oxygen demand from bottom sediments

Wastewater treatment plants discharge

pollutants known as oxygen-consuming

wastes. This includes organic matter

that decomposes in the water column

and takes up dissolved oxygen needed

by other aquatic life.

Divers place devices on the bottom of

selected waterways to measure the

amount of dissolved oxygen removed

from the water column by bottom-

dwelling bacteria and through chemical

processes. This information is used by

computer modelers to determine the

level of treatment required at waste-

water treatment plants to protect the

waters and aquatic life.

slide42

How is the water quality

in North Carolina?

slide43

*Most streams are in good shape

...but 16.4% are impaired, or not supporting their uses

16.4%

  • Major Causes of Imp.:
  • Habitat Degradation
  • (stream erosion and
  • sedimentation)
  • Fecal Coliforms
  • Low dissolved Oxygen
  • Turbidity

83.6%

Includes approximately

2000 miles of

impaired streams that

need to be restored

*Based on monitored streams

Source: 1998-99 305(b) Report

impaired stream miles by source top five sources
Impaired Stream Miles by Source(Top five sources)

Runoff Pollution

Point Source

Source: 1998-99 305(b) report

slide45

*Saltwater Use Support Ratings

  • Only 4% of all 1,997,375 acres of coastal waters in NC are impaired. Sources of impairment
  • by %:
  • 41% Fecal Col. Bacteria (Shellfish Closures)
  • 9% Dissolved oxygen
  • 51% Chlorophyl a (nutrient problem)
  • (Note: because of overlap,
  • %s do not add to 100%)

Source: 1998-99 305(b) Report

slide46

For further

information

contact:

Alan Clark

NC Division of Water Quality

1617 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-1617

919-733-5083 x570

alan.clark@ncmail.net