15A NCAC 02B .0225       OUTSTANDING RESOURCE WATERS

(a)  General.  In addition to the existing classifications, the Commission may classify unique and special surface waters of the state as outstanding resource waters (ORW) upon finding that such waters are of exceptional state or national recreational or ecological significance and that the waters have exceptional water quality while meeting the following conditions:

(1)           that the water quality is rated as excellent based on physical, chemical or biological information;

(2)           the characteristics which make these waters unique and special may not be protected by the assigned narrative and numerical water quality standards.

(b)  Outstanding Resource Values.  In order to be classified as ORW, a water body must exhibit one or more of the following values or uses to demonstrate it is of exceptional state or national recreational or ecological significance:

(1)           there are outstanding fish (or commercially important aquatic species) habitat and fisheries;

(2)           there is an unusually high level of water‑based recreation or the potential for such recreation;

(3)           the waters have already received some special designation such as a North Carolina or National Wild and Scenic River, Native or Special Native Trout Waters or National Wildlife Refuge, which do not provide any water quality protection;

(4)           the waters represent an important component of a state or national park or forest; or

(5)           the waters are of special ecological or scientific significance such as habitat for rare or endangered species or as areas for research and education.

(c)  Quality Standards for ORW.

(1)           Freshwater:  Water quality conditions shall be maintained to protect the outstanding resource values of waters classified ORW.  Management strategies to protect resource values shall be developed on a site specific basis during the proceedings to classify waters as ORW.  No new discharges or expansions of existing discharges shall be permitted, and stormwater controls for all new development activities requiring an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan in accordance with rules established by the NC Sedimentation Control Commission or an appropriate local erosion and sedimentation control program shall be required to follow the stormwater provisions as specified in 15A NCAC 02H .1000.  Specific stormwater requirements for ORW areas are described in 15A NCAC 02H .1007.

(2)           Saltwater:  Water quality conditions shall be maintained to protect the outstanding resource values of waters classified ORW.  Management strategies to protect resource values shall be developed on a site‑specific basis during the proceedings to classify waters as ORW.  New development shall comply with the stormwater provisions as specified in 15A NCAC 02H .1000.  Specific stormwater management requirements for saltwater ORWs are described in 15A NCAC 02H .1007.  New non‑discharge permits shall meet reduced loading rates and increased buffer zones, to be determined on a case‑by‑case basis.  No dredge or fill activities shall be allowed if those activities would result in a reduction of the beds of submerged aquatic vegetation or a reduction of shellfish producing habitat as defined in 15A NCAC 03I .0101(b)(20)(A) and (B), except for maintenance dredging, such as that required to maintain access to existing channels and facilities located within the designated areas or maintenance dredging for activities such as agriculture.  A public hearing is mandatory for any proposed permits to discharge to waters classified as ORW.

Additional actions to protect resource values shall be considered on a site specific basis during the proceedings to classify waters as ORW and shall be specified in Paragraph (e) of this Rule.  These actions may include anything within the powers of the Commission.  The Commission shall also consider local actions which have been taken to protect a water body in determining the appropriate state protection options.  Descriptions of boundaries of waters classified as ORW are included in Paragraph (e) of this Rule and in the Schedule of Classifications (15A NCAC 02B .0302 through 02B .0317) as specified for the appropriate river basin and shall also be described on maps maintained by the Division of Water Quality.

(d)  Petition Process.  Any person may petition the Commission to classify a surface water of the state as an ORW.  The petition shall identify the exceptional resource value to be protected, address how the water body meets the general criteria in Paragraph (a) of this Rule, and the suggested actions to protect the resource values.  The Commission may request additional supporting information from the petitioner.  The Commission or its designee shall initiate public proceedings to classify waters as ORW or shall inform the petitioner that the waters do not meet the criteria for ORW with an explanation of the basis for this decision.  The petition shall be sent to:

 

Director

DENR/Division of Water Quality

1617 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1617

The envelope containing the petition shall clearly bear the notation: RULE‑MAKING PETITION FOR ORW CLASSIFICATION.

(e)  Listing of Waters Classified ORW with Specific Actions.  Waters classified as ORW with specific actions to protect exceptional resource values are listed as follows:

(1)           Roosevelt Natural Area [White Oak River Basin, Index Nos. 20‑36‑9.5‑(1) and 20‑36‑9.5‑(2)] including all fresh and saline waters within the property boundaries of the natural area shall have only new development which complies with the low density option in the stormwater rules as specified in 15A NCAC 2H .1005(2)(a) within 575 feet of the Roosevelt Natural Area (if the development site naturally drains to the Roosevelt Natural Area);

(2)           Chattooga River ORW Area (Little Tennessee River Basin and Savannah River Drainage Area):  the following undesignated waterbodies that are tributary to ORW designated segments shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section.  However, expansions of existing discharges to these segments shall be allowed if there is no increase in pollutant loading:

(A)          North and South Fowler Creeks;

(B)          Green and Norton Mill Creeks;

(C)          Cane Creek;

(D)          Ammons Branch;

(E)           Glade Creek; and

(F)           Associated tributaries;

(3)           Henry Fork ORW Area (Catawba River Basin):  the following undesignated waterbodies that are tributary to ORW designated segments shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section:

(A)          Ivy Creek;

(B)          Rock Creek; and

(C)          Associated tributaries;

(4)           South Fork New and New Rivers ORW Area [New River Basin (Index Nos. 10‑1‑33.5 and 10)]: the following management strategies, in addition to the discharge requirements specified in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule, shall be applied to protect the designated ORW areas:

(A)          Stormwater controls described in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule shall apply to land within one mile of and that drains to the designated ORW areas;

(B)          New or expanded NPDES permitted wastewater discharges located upstream of the designated ORW (for the North Fork New River ORW are see Subparagraph (14) of this Paragraph) shall be permitted such that the following water quality standards are maintained in the ORW segment:

(i)            the total volume of treated wastewater for all upstream discharges combined shall not exceed 50 percent of the total instream flow in the designated ORW under 7Q10 conditions, which are defined in Rule .0206(a)(1) of this Section;

(ii)           a safety factor shall be applied to any chemical allocation such that the effluent limitation for a specific chemical constituent shall be the more stringent of either the limitation allocated under design conditions (pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0206) for the normal standard at the point of discharge, or the limitation allocated under design conditions for one‑half the normal standard at the upstream border of the ORW segment;

(iii)          a safety factor shall be applied to any discharge of complex wastewater (those containing or potentially containing toxicants) to protect for chronic toxicity in the ORW segment by setting the whole effluent toxicity limitation at the higher (more stringent) percentage effluent determined under design conditions (pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0206) for either the instream effluent concentration at the point of discharge or twice the effluent concentration calculated as if the discharge were at the upstream border of the ORW segment;

(C)          New or expanded NPDES permitted wastewater discharges located upstream of the designated ORW (for the North Fork New River ORW area; see Subparagraph (14) of this Paragraph) shall comply with the following:

(i)            Oxygen Consuming Wastes:  Effluent limitations shall be as follows: BOD = 5 mg/1, and NH3‑N = 2 mg/1;

(ii)           Total Suspended Solids:  Discharges of total suspended solids (TSS) shall be limited to effluent concentrations of 10 mg/1 for trout waters and to 20 mg/1 for all other waters;

(iii)          Emergency Requirements:  Failsafe treatment designs shall be employed, including stand‑by power capability for entire treatment works, dual train design for all treatment components, or equivalent failsafe treatment designs;

(iv)          Nutrients:  Where nutrient overenrichment is projected to be a concern, effluent limitations shall be set for phosphorus or nitrogen, or both;

(5)           Old Field Creek (New River Basin):  the undesignated portion of Old Field Creek (from its source to Call Creek) shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section;

(6)           In the following designated waterbodies, no additional restrictions shall be placed on new or expanded marinas.  The only new or expanded NPDES permitted discharges that shall be allowed shall be non‑domestic, non‑process industrial discharges.  The Alligator River Area (Pasquotank River Basin) extending from the source of the Alligator River to the U.S. Highway 64 bridge including New Lake Fork, North West Fork Alligator River, Juniper Creek, Southwest Fork Alligator River, Scouts Bay, Gum Neck Creek, Georgia Bay, Winn Bay, Stumpy Creek Bay, Stumpy Creek, Swann Creek (Swann Creek Lake), Whipping Creek (Whipping Creek Lake), Grapevine Bay, Rattlesnake Bay, The Straits, The Frying Pan, Coopers Creek, Babbitt Bay, Goose Creek, Milltail Creek, Boat Bay, Sandy Ridge Gut (Sawyer Lake) and Second Creek, but excluding the Intracoastal Waterway (Pungo River‑Alligator River Canal) and all other tributary streams and canals;

(7)           In the following designated waterbodies, the only type of new or expanded marina that shall be allowed shall be those marinas located in upland basin areas, or those with less than 10 slips, having no boats over 21 feet in length and no boats with heads.  The only new or expanded NPDES permitted discharges that shall be allowed shall be non‑domestic, non‑process industrial discharges:

(A)          The Northeast Swanquarter Bay Area including all waters northeast of a line from a point at Lat. 35E 23N 51O and Long. 76E 21N 02O thence southeast along the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge hunting closure boundary (as defined by the 1935 Presidential Proclamation) to Drum Point.

(B)          The Neuse‑Southeast Pamlico Sound Area (Southeast Pamlico Sound Section of the Southeast Pamlico, Core and Back Sound Area); (Neuse River Basin) including all waters within an area defined by a line extending from the southern shore of Ocracoke Inlet northwest to the Tar‑Pamlico River and Neuse River basin boundary, then southwest to Ship Point.

(C)          The Core Sound Section of the Southeast Pamlico, Core and Back Sound Area (White Oak River Basin), including all waters of Core Sound and its tributaries, but excluding Nelson Bay, Little Port Branch and Atlantic Harbor at its mouth, and those tributaries of Jarrett Bay that are closed to shellfishing.

(D)          The Western Bogue Sound Section of the Western Bogue Sound and Bear Island Area (White Oak River Basin) including all waters within an area defined by a line from Bogue Inlet to the mainland at SR 1117 to a line across Bogue Sound from the southwest side of Gales Creek to Rock Point, including Taylor Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.

(E)           The Stump Sound Area (Cape Fear River Basin) including all waters of Stump Sound and Alligator Bay from marker Number 17 to the western end of Permuda Island, but excluding Rogers Bay, the Kings Creek Restricted Area and Mill Creek.

(F)           The Topsail Sound and Middle Sound Area (Cape Fear River Basin) including all estuarine waters from New Topsail Inlet to Mason Inlet, including the Intracoastal Waterway and Howe Creek, but excluding Pages Creek and Futch Creek;

(8)           In the following designated waterbodies, no new or expanded NPDES permitted discharges and only new or expanded marinas with less than 10 slips, having no boats over 21 feet in length and no boats with heads shall be allowed:

(A)          The Swanquarter Bay and Juniper Bay Area (Tar‑Pamlico River Basin) including all waters within a line beginning at Juniper Bay Point and running south and then west below Great Island, then northwest to Shell Point and including Shell Bay, Swanquarter and Juniper Bays and their tributaries, but excluding all waters northeast of a line from a point at Lat. 35E 23N 51O and Long. 76E 21N 02O thence southeast along the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge hunting closure boundary (as defined by the 1935 Presidential Proclamation) to Drum Point and also excluding the Blowout Canal, Hydeland Canal, Juniper Canal and Quarter Canal.

(B)          The Back Sound Section of the Southeast Pamlico, Core and Back Sound Area (White Oak River Basin) including that area of Back Sound extending from Core Sound west along Shackleford Banks, then north to the western most point of Middle Marshes and along the northwest shore of Middle Marshes (to include all of Middle Marshes), then west to Rush Point on Harker's Island, and along the southern shore of Harker's Island back to Core Sound.

(C)          The Bear Island Section of the Western Bogue Sound and Bear Island Area (White Oak River Basin) including all waters within an area defined by a line from the western most point on Bear Island to the northeast mouth of Goose Creek on the mainland, east to the southwest mouth of Queen Creek, then south to green marker No. 49, then northeast to the northern most point on Huggins Island, then southeast along the shoreline of Huggins Island to the southeastern most point of Huggins Island, then south to the northeastern most point on Dudley Island, then southwest along the shoreline of Dudley Island to the eastern tip of Bear Island.

(D)          The Masonboro Sound Area (Cape Fear River Basin) including all waters between the Barrier Islands and the mainland from Carolina Beach Inlet to Masonboro Inlet;

(9)           Black and South Rivers ORW Area (Cape Fear River Basin) [Index Nos. 18‑68‑(0.5), 18‑68‑(3.5), 18‑68‑(11.5), 18‑68‑12‑(0.5), 18‑68‑12‑(11.5), and 18‑68‑2]: the following management strategies, in addition to the discharge requirements specified in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule, shall be applied to protect the designated ORW areas:

(A)          Stormwater controls described in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule shall apply to land within one mile of and that drains to the designated ORW areas;

(B)          New or expanded NPDES permitted wastewater discharges located one mile upstream of the stream segments designated ORW (upstream on the designated mainstem and upstream into direct tributaries to the designated mainstem) shall comply with the following discharge restrictions:

(i)            Oxygen Consuming Wastes: Effluent limitations shall be as follows: BOD = 5 mg/l and NH3-N = 2 mg/l;

(ii)           Total Suspended Solids:  Discharges of total suspended solids (TSS) shall be limited to effluent concentrations of 20 mg/l;

(iii)          Emergency Requirements:  Failsafe treatment designs shall be employed, including stand-by power capability for entire treatment works, dual train design for all treatment components, or equivalent failsafe treatment designs;

(iv)          Nutrients:  Where nutrient overenrichment is projected to be a concern, effluent limitations shall be set for phosphorus or nitrogen, or both.

(v)           Toxic substances: In cases where complex discharges (those containing or potentially containing toxicants) may be currently present in the discharge, a safety factor shall be applied to any chemical or whole effluent toxicity allocation.  The limit for a specific chemical constituent shall be allocated at one‑half of the normal standard at design conditions.  Whole effluent toxicity shall be allocated to protect for chronic toxicity at an effluent concentration equal to twice that which is acceptable under flow design criteria (pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0206);

(10)         Lake Waccamaw ORW Area (Lumber River Basin) [Index No. 15-2]: all undesignated waterbodies that are tributary to Lake Waccamaw shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section;

(11)         Swift Creek and Sandy Creek ORW Area (Tar-Pamlico River Basin) [portion of Index No. 28-78-(0.5) and Index No. 28-78-1-(19)]: all undesignated waterbodies that drain to the designated waters shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section and to protect outstanding resource values found in the designated waters as well as in the undesignated waters that drain to the designated waters;

(12)         Fontana Lake North Shore ORW Area (Little Tennessee River Basin and Savannah River Drainage Area) [Index Nos. 2-96 through 2-164 (excluding all waterbodies that drain to the south shore of Fontana Lake) consists of the entire watersheds of all creeks that drain to the north shore of Fontana Lake between Eagle and Forney Creeks, including Eagle and Forney Creeks.  In addition to the requirements specified in Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule, any person conducting development activity disturbing greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet of land area in the designated ORW area shall undertake the following actions to protect the outstanding resource values of the designated ORW and downstream waters:

(A)          investigate for the presence of and identify the composition of acid-producing rocks by exploratory drilling or other means and characterize the net neutralization potential of the acid-producing rocks prior to commencing the land-disturbing activity;

(B)          avoid areas to the maximum extent practical where acid-producing rocks are found with net neutralization potential of –5 or less;

(C)          establish background levels of acidity and mineralization prior to commencing land-disturbing activity, and monitor and maintain baseline water quality conditions for the duration of the land-disturbing activity and for any period thereafter not less than two years as determined by the Division as part of a certification issued in accordance with 15A NCAC 02H .0500 or stormwater permit issued pursuant to this Rule;

(D)          obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for construction pursuant to Rule 15A NCAC 02H .0126  prior to initiating land-disturbing activity;

(E)           design stormwater control systems to control and treat stormwater runoff generated from all surfaces generated by one inch of rainfall  in accordance with 15A NCAC 02H. 1008; and

(F)           replicate pre-development runoff characteristics and mimic the natural and unique hydrology of the site, post development;

(13)         Horsepasture River ORW Area (Savannah Drainage Area) [Index No. 4-13-(0.5) and Index No. 4-13-(12.5)]:  all undesignated waterbodies that are located within the Horsepasture River watershed shall comply with Paragraph (c) of this Rule in order to protect the designated waters as per Rule .0203 of this Section and to protect outstanding resource values found throughout the watershed.  However, new domestic wastewater discharges and expansions of existing wastewater discharges may be allowed provided that:

(A)          Oxygen Consuming Wastes:  Effluent limitations shall be as follows: BOD = 5 mg/l, and NH3-N = 2 mg/l;

(B)          Total Suspended Solids:  Discharges of total suspended solids (TSS) shall be limited to effluent concentrations of 10 mg/1 for trout waters and to 20 mg/l for all other waters except for mining operations, which will be held to their respective NPDES TSS permit limits;

(C)          Nutrients:  Where nutrient overenrichment is projected to be a concern, effluent limitations shall be set for phosphorus or nitrogen, or both; and

(D)          Volume:  The total volume of treated wastewater for all discharges combined shall not exceed 25 percent of the total instream flow in the designated ORW under 7Q10 conditions, which are defined in Rule .0206(a)(1) of this Section; and

(14)         North Fork New River ORW Area (New River Basin) [Index Nos. 10-2-(1), 10-2-(11) and 10-2-(12)]: all non-ORW waterbodies including Little Buffalo Creek and Claybank Creek [Index Nos. 10-2-20-1 and 10-2-20-1-1] that are located within the North Fork New River watershed shall comply with Rule .0224 of this Section in order to protect the ORW designated waters.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143‑214.1; S.L. 2005-97;

Eff. October 1, 1995;

Amended Eff. August 1, 2003 (see S.L. 2003-433, s.2); August 1, 2000; April 1, 1996; January 1, 1996;

Temporary Amendment Eff. October 7, 2003;

Amended Eff. December 1, 2010; July 1, 2009; January 1, 2007; June 1, 2004.