ATLANTA, July 17, 2017 -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $3,042,000 to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to implement and enforce the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The award was made under the Public Water System Supervision program and will go toward NCDEQ's oversight of the 5,677 public water systems serving approximately nine million people.
"In North Carolina, NCDEQ is the delegated authority for most environmental programs," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This grant exemplifies how EPA partners with states to give them the flexibility to administer and enforce programs that ensure drinking water is safe."
PWSS grants are used to ensure that public drinking water systems of all types and sizes comply with drinking water regulations. When systems are found to be in violation, funds are used to help bring the systems back into compliance. NCDEQ has delegated authority to develop their own regulations and requirements that are more stringent than federal requirements. A portion of the funds can be used by the State to prepare to implement new drinking water regulations that will take effect in the current or following year.
The funding will assist North Carolina in continuing to implement the Revised Total Coliform Rule, a major new drinking water regulation intended to reduce the incidence of fecal contamination in public water systems. It will support the State in inspecting approximately 2200 water systems to identify and require correction of deficiencies that can pose serious risks to public health. It will also support NCDEQ staff in conducting approximately 3000 site visits to assist water systems in investigating customer complaints, solving site-specific operational problems, and returning to compliance after experiencing violations.
This funding is EPA's second award to fully fund NCDEQ in fiscal year 2017. NCDEQ initially received $1,775,738 to support their drinking water-related environmental programs.