DWQ officials met this past week with Senator Marc Basnight and local officials to discuss proposed amendments to coastal stormwater rules. The discussion centered on the uniqueness of Dare County – how it is so different from the other 19 coastal counties, as well as efforts on the local level to address stormwater runoff. Those in attendance were concerned that the coastal counties at the end of the watershed are being made to clean-up problems that exist further upstream. The group also shared with Tom Reeder and Coleen Sulins from DWQ that the proposed rules do nothing to address existing runoff from NC DOT, ocean outfalls and sewage treatment discharge pipes in Manteo.
Tom Reeder stated over 1200 public comments were received with about 60% in favor of the rules and 40% opposed to the rules. He stated over 500 form letters came from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. The majority of the objections stemmed from extending the 30’ buffer to 50’; reducing the permitting threshold from one acre to 10,000 sq. ft.; and removing wetlands from surface calculations.
The 3-hour discussion was very positive. Everyone in the group left with a better understanding of the impact of the proposed amendments. Possible solutions were even discussed on what can be done to address existing problems. DWQ officials said they would incorporate the group’s comments in a report to the Environmental Management Commission