15a ncac 02b .0234       NEUSE RIVER BASIN - NUTRIENT SENSITIVE WATERS MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: WASTEWATER DISCHARGE REQUIREMENTS

The following is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater discharge management strategy for the Neuse River Basin:

(1)           Purpose.  The purpose of this Rule is to establish minimum nutrient control requirements for point source discharges in the Neuse River Basin in order to maintain or restore the water quality in the Neuse River Estuary and protect its designated uses.

(2)           Applicability.  This Rule applies to all wastewater treatment facilities in the Neuse River Basin that receive nitrogen-bearing wastewater and are required to obtain individual NPDES permits.

(3)           Definitions.  For the purposes of this Rule, the following definitions apply:

(a)           In regard to point source dischargers, treatment facilities, wastewater flows or discharges, or like matters:

(i)            "Existing" means that which obtained a NPDES permit on or before December 31, 1995.

(ii)           "Expanding" means that which increases beyond its permitted flow as defined in this Rule.

(iii)          "New" means that which had not obtained a NPDES permit on or before December 31, 1995.

(b)           "MGD" means million gallons per day.

(c)           "Nitrogen wasteload allocation" is that portion of the Neuse River nitrogen TMDL assigned to individually permitted wastewater facilities in the basin and represents the maximum allowable load of total nitrogen to the estuary from these point source dischargers.

(d)           "Nitrogen estuary allocation" or "estuary allocation" means the mass loading of total nitrogen at the estuary that is reserved for a discharger or group of dischargers. A discharger's or group's estuary allocation is equivalent to its discharge allocation multiplied by its assigned transport factor.

(e)           "Nitrogen discharge allocation" or "discharge allocation" means the mass loading of total nitrogen at the point(s) of discharge that is reserved for a discharger or group of dischargers. A discharger's or group's discharge allocation is equivalent to its estuary allocation divided by its assigned transport factor.

(f)            "Nitrogen TMDL," or "TMDL," means the total nitrogen load to the Neuse River estuary that is predicted to maintain adequate water quality to support all designated uses in the estuary and is approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act.

(g)           "Nonpoint source load allocation" is that portion of the Neuse River nitrogen TMDL assigned to all other nitrogen sources in the basin other than individually permitted wastewater facilities and represents the maximum allowable load of total nitrogen to the estuary from these nonpoint sources.

(h)           "Permitted flow" means the maximum monthly average flow authorized in a facility’s NPDES permit as of December 31, 1995, with the following exceptions:

 

Facility Name           NPDES No.           Permitted Flow (MGD)

Benson                  NC0020389                       3.00

Goldsboro             NC0023949                     16.80

Kenly                     NC0064891                       0.63

Snow Hill               NC0020842                       0.50

Wilson                    NC0023906                     14.00

 

(i)            "Total nitrogen" means the sum of the organic, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia forms of nitrogen.

(j)            "Transport factor" is the fraction of the total nitrogen in a discharge that is predicted to reach the estuary.

(4)           This Item specifies the nitrogen wasteload allocation for point sources.

(a)           Beginning with the calendar year 2003, the nitrogen wasteload allocation for point sources shall not exceed 1.64 million pounds per calendar year plus any portion of the nonpoint source load allocation purchased in accordance with the provisions in Items (7) and (8) of this Rule and 15A NCAC 02B .0240.

(b)           The Commission shall order future revisions in the nitrogen wasteload allocation whenever necessary to ensure that water quality in the estuary meets all standards in 15A NCAC 02B .0200 or to conform with applicable state or federal requirements.

(5)           This Item specifies nitrogen discharge allocations for point sources.

(a)           Upon adoption of this Rule and until revised as provided elsewhere in this Rule, the following group and individual discharge allocations for total nitrogen shall apply in order to comply with the nitrogen wasteload allocation for point sources in Item (4) of this Rule:

(i)            Dischargers with permitted flows less than 0.5 MGD shall be assigned collectively an annual discharge allocation of 138,000 pounds of total nitrogen.

(ii)           Dischargers upstream of Falls Lake Dam and with permitted flows greater than or equal to 0.5 MGD shall be assigned collectively an annual discharge allocation of 443,700 pounds of total nitrogen.

(iii)          Municipal dischargers downstream of Falls Lake Dam and with permitted flows greater than or equal to 0.5 MGD shall be assigned collectively an annual discharge allocation of 2,021,400 pounds of total nitrogen.

(iv)          Industrial dischargers downstream of Falls Lake Dam and with permitted flows greater than or equal to 0.5 MGD shall be assigned collectively an annual discharge allocation of 396,900 pounds of total nitrogen.

(v)           Within each group in Sub-Items (i) - (iv) of this Item, each individual discharger shall be assigned an individual discharge allocation and the equivalent estuary allocation. Each discharger's discharge allocation shall be calculated as its permitted flow divided by the total permitted flow of the group, multiplied by the group discharge allocation.

(b)           In the event that the nitrogen wasteload allocation for point sources is revised, as provided in Item (4) of this Rule, the Commission shall apportion the revised load among the existing facilities and shall revise discharge allocations as needed. The Commission may consider such factors as:

(i)            fate and transport of nitrogen in the river basin;

(ii)           technical feasibility and economic reasonableness of source reduction and treatment methods;

(iii)          economies of scale;

(iv)          nitrogen control measures already implemented;

(v)           probable need for growth and expansion;

(vi)          incentives for responsible planning, utilities management, resource protection, and cooperative efforts among dischargers; and

(vii)         other factors the Commission deems relevant.

(6)           This Item specifies nutrient controls for existing facilities.

(a)           Beginning with calendar year 2003, each discharger with a permitted flow equal to or greater than 0.5 MGD shall be subject to a total nitrogen permit limit equal to its individual discharge allocation, pursuant to Item (5) of this Rule.

(b)           Effective January 1, 2003, dischargers shall be subject to the following limits for total phosphorus:

(i)            All existing facilities above Falls Lake Dam with permitted flows greater than or equal to 0.05 MGD shall meet a quarterly average total phosphorus limit of 2 mg/L.

(ii)           All existing facilities below Falls Lake Dam with permitted flows greater than or equal to 0.5 MGD shall meet a quarterly average total phosphorus limit of 2 mg/L.

(c)           The director shall establish more stringent limits for nitrogen or phosphorus upon finding that such limits are necessary to protect water quality standards in localized areas.

(7)           This Item specifies nutrient controls for new facilities.

(a)           New facilities proposing to discharge wastewater shall evaluate all practical alternatives to surface water discharge, pursuant to 15A NCAC 02H .0105(c)(2), prior to submitting an application to discharge.

(b)           New facilities submitting an application shall make every reasonable effort to obtain estuary allocation for the proposed wastewater discharge from existing dischargers. If estuary allocation cannot be obtained from the existing facilities, new facilities may purchase a portion of the nonpoint source load allocation for a period of 30 years at a rate of 200 percent of the cost as set in 15A NCAC 02B .0240 to implement practices designed to offset the loading created by the new facility. Payment for each 30-year portion of the nonpoint source load allocation shall be made prior to the ensuing permit issuance.

(c)           No application for a new discharge shall be made or accepted without written documentation demonstrating that the requirements of Sub-Items (a) and (b) of this Item have been met.

(d)           The nitrogen discharge allocation for a new facility treating municipal or domestic wastewaters shall not exceed the mass equivalent to a concentration of 3.5 mg/L at the maximum monthly average flow limit in the facility's NPDES permit.

(e)           The nitrogen discharge allocation for a new facility treating industrial wastewaters shall not exceed the mass equivalent of either the best available technology economically achievable or a discharge concentration of 3.2 mg/L at the maximum monthly average flow limit in the facility's NPDES permit, whichever is less.

(f)            New dischargers must meet a monthly average total phosphorous limit of 1 mg/L.

(g)           The director shall establish more stringent limits for nitrogen or phosphorus upon finding that such limits are necessary to protect water quality standards in localized areas.

(8)           This Item specifies nutrient controls for expanding facilities.

(a)           Expanding facilities shall evaluate all practical alternatives to surface water discharge, pursuant to 15A NCAC 02H .0105(c)(2), prior to submitting an application to discharge.

(b)           Facilities submitting an application for increased discharge shall make every reasonable effort to minimize increases in their nitrogen discharges, such as reducing sources of nitrogen to the facility or increasing the nitrogen treatment capacity of the facility; or to obtain estuary allocation from existing dischargers.

(c)           No application for an expanding facility shall be made or accepted without written documentation demonstrating that the requirements of Sub-Items (a) and (b) of this Item have been met.

(d)           If these measures do not produce adequate estuary allocation for the expanded flows, facilities may purchase a portion of the nonpoint source load allocation for a period of 30 years at a rate of 200 percent of the cost as set in 15A NCAC 02B .0240 to implement practices designed to offset the loading created by the new facility. Payment for each 30-year portion of the nonpoint source load allocation shall be made prior to the ensuing permit issuance.

(e)           The nitrogen discharge allocation for an expanded facility treating municipal or domestic wastewaters shall not exceed the mass equivalent to a concentration of 3.5 mg/L at the maximum monthly average flow limit in the NPDES permit, or its existing allocation, whichever is greater.

(f)            The nitrogen discharge allocation for expanding facilities of an industrial nature shall not exceed the mass equivalent to the best available technology economically achievable or a concentration of 3.2 mg/L at the maximum monthly average flow limit in the facility's modified NPDES permit, whichever is less. If the resulting mass is less than the facility's existing discharge allocation, the existing discharge allocation shall not be reduced.

(g)           Expanding facilities must meet a monthly average total phosphorous limit of 1 mg/L unless they are a member in good standing of a group compliance association described in Item (9) of this Rule, in which case they must meet a quarterly average total phosphorus limit of 2 mg/L.

(h)           The director shall establish more stringent limits for nitrogen or phosphorus upon finding that such limits are necessary to protect water quality standards in localized areas.

(9)           This Item describes the option for dischargers to join a group compliance association to collectively meet nutrient load allocations.

(a)           Any or all facilities within the basin may form a group compliance association to meet nitrogen estuary allocations collectively. Any such association must apply for and shall be subject to an NPDES permit that establishes the effective total nitrogen allocations for the association and for its members. More than one group compliance association may be established. No facility may belong to more than one association at a time.

(b)           No later than 180 days prior to expiration of the association NPDES permit, the association and its members shall submit an application for a NPDES permit for the discharge of total nitrogen to the surface waters of the Neuse River Basin. The NPDES permit shall be issued to the association and its members as co-permittees ("association NPDES permit"). It shall contain the association’s estuary allocation and individual estuary allocations for each of the members.

(c)           An association's estuary allocation of total nitrogen shall be the sum of its members' individual estuary allocations plus any other estuary allocation obtained by the association or its members.

(d)           An association may reapportion the individual estuary allocations of its members on an annual basis. The association NPDES permit shall be modified to reflect the revised individual estuary allocations.

(e)           Beginning in calendar year 2003, if an association does not meet its estuary allocation, it shall make offset payments for nonpoint source controls no later than May 1 of the following year at the rate set in 15A NCAC 02B .0240.

(f)            Association members shall be exempted from the permit limits for total nitrogen contained in their individually issued NPDES permits so long as they remain members in an association. Association members shall be exempted from their individual estuary allocations in the association NPDES permit as long as the association is in compliance with its estuary allocation. If the association fails to meet its estuary allocation, the association and the members that have failed to meet their individual estuary allocations in the association NPDES permit will be out of compliance with the association NPDES permit.

(10)         Regional Facilities.  In the event that an existing discharger or group of dischargers accepts wastewater from another NPDES-permitted treatment facility in the Neuse River Basin and that acceptance results in the elimination of the discharge from the treatment facility, the eliminated facility's total nitrogen estuary allocation shall be transferred and added to the accepting discharger's estuary allocation.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143-214.1; 143-215; 143-215.1; 143-215.3(a) (1); S.L. 1995, c. 572;

Temporary Adoption Eff. January 22, 1998;

Eff. August 1, 1998;

Temporary Amendment Eff. March 15, 2000;

Temporary Amendment Expired on December 10, 2000;

Amended Eff. April 1, 2003.