15A NCAC 02E .0502       WITHDRAWAL PERMITS

(a)  Existing ground water withdrawal permits issued in Capacity Use Area No. 1 (15A NCAC 02E .0200) within the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area are reissued under Section .0500 of this Subchapter and are valid until the expiration date specified in each permit.  Water use permits are no longer required for withdrawals in Hyde and Tyrrell Counties as of the effective date of this Rule.  Permits are not required for surface water use under Section .0500 of this Subchapter in the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area as delineated in Rule .0501 of this Section.

(b)  No person shall withdraw ground water after the effective date of this Rule in excess of 100,000 gallons per day by a well, group of wells operated as a system, or sump for any purpose unless such person shall first obtain a water use permit from the Director.  Existing withdrawals of ground water as of the effective date of this Rule and proposed withdrawals previously approved for funding appropriated pursuant to the "Clean Water and Natural Gas Critical Needs Bond Act of 1998" or other local, state or federally funded projects as of the effective date of this Rule shall be allowed to proceed with construction or to continue to operate under interim status until a permit has been issued or denied by the Director, provided that persons withdrawing in excess of 100,000 gallons per day by a well, group of wells operated as a system, or sump comply with the following requirements:

(1)           Persons conducting withdrawals in the Capacity Use Area that require a permit shall submit a permit application to the Division of Water Resources within 180 days of the effective date of this Rule.

(2)           Persons who have submitted applications shall provide any additional information requested by the Division of Water Resources for processing of the permit application within 30 days of the receipt of that request.

(3)           Persons conducting withdrawals in the Capacity Use Area that require a permit shall submit water level and water use data on a form supplied by the Division four times a year, within 30 days of the end of March, June, September, and December until a permit has been issued or denied by the Division of Water Resources.

(c)  Ground water withdrawals shall be governed by the following standards:

(1)           Adverse impacts of ground water withdrawals shall be avoided or minimized.  Adverse impacts include, but are not limited to:

(A)          dewatering of aquifers;

(B)          encroachment of salt water;

(C)          land subsidence or sinkhole development; or

(D)          declines in aquifer water levels that indicate that aggregate water use exceeds the aquifer replenishment rate.

(2)           Adverse impacts on other water users from ground water withdrawals shall be corrected or minimized through efficient use of water and development of sustainable water sources.

(3)           In determining the importance and necessity of a proposed withdrawal the efficiency of water use and implementation of conservation measures shall be considered.

(d)  An application for a water use permit must be submitted on a form approved by the Director to the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.  The application shall describe the purpose or purposes for which water shall be used, shall set forth the method and location of withdrawals, shall justify the quantities needed, and shall document water conservation measures to be used by the applicant to ensure efficient use of water and avoidance of waste.  Withdrawal permit applications shall include the following information: 

(1)           Location by latitude and longitude of all wells to be used for withdrawal of water.

(2)           Specifications for design and construction of existing and proposed production and monitoring wells including:

(A)          Well diameter;

(B)          Total depth of the well;

(C)          Depths of all open hole or screened intervals that will yield water to the well;

(D)          Depth of pump intake(s);

(E)           Size, capacity and type of pump;

(F)           Depth to top of gravel pack; and

(G)          Depth measurements shall be within accuracy limits of plus or minus 0.10 feet and referenced to a known land surface elevation.

Exceptions may be made where specific items of information are not critical, as determined by the Director, to manage the ground water resource.

(3)           Withdrawal permit applications for use of ground water from the Cretaceous aquifer system shall include plans to reduce water use from these aquifers as specified in Rule .0503 of this Section.  Withdrawal rates from the Cretaceous aquifer system that exceed the approved base rate may be permitted during Phase I of Rule .0503 of this Section if the applicant can demonstrate to the Director's satisfaction a need for the greater amount.  Cretaceous aquifer system wells shall be identified using the specifications in Rule .0502(d)(1) and .0502(d)(2) of this Section and the hydrogeological framework. 

(4)           Withdrawal permit applications for dewatering of mines, pits or quarries shall include a dewatering or depressurization plan that includes:

(A)          the current withdrawal rate or estimates of the proposed withdrawal rate;

(B)          the location, design and specifications of any sumps, drains or other withdrawal sources including wells and trenches;

(C)          the lateral extent and depth of the zone(s) to be dewatered or depressurized;

(D)          a monitoring plan that provides data to delineate the nature and extent of dewatering or depressurization;

(E)           certification of all engineering plans and hydrogeological analyses prepared to meet these requirements consistent with professional licensing board statutes and rules governing such activities.

Exceptions may be made where specific items of information are not critical, as determined by the Director, to manage the ground water resource.

(5)           Conservation Measures.  The applicant shall provide information on existing conservation measures and conservation measures to be implemented during the permit period as follows:

(A)          Public water supply systems shall develop and implement a feasible water conservation plan incorporating, at a minimum, the following components.  Each component shall be described, including a timetable for implementing each component that does not already exist.

(i)            Adoption of a water conservation-based rate structure, such as: flat rates, increasing block rates, seasonal rates, or quantity-based surcharges.

(ii)           Implementation of a water loss reduction program if unaccounted for water is greater than 15 percent of the total amount produced, as documented annually using a detailed water audit.  Water loss reduction programs shall consist of annual water audits, in-field leak detection, and leak repair.

(iii)          Adoption of a water conservation ordinance for irrigation, including such measures as:  time-of-day and day-of-week restrictions on lawn and ornamental irrigation, automatic irrigation system shut-off devices or other appropriate measures.

(iv)          Implementation of a retrofit program that makes available indoor water conservation devices to customers (such as showerheads, toilet flappers, and faucet aerators).

(v)           Implementation of a public education program (such as water bill inserts, school and civic presentations, water treatment plant tours, public services announcements, or other appropriate measures).

(vi)          Evaluation of the feasibility of water reuse as a means of conservation, where applicable.

(B)          Users of water for commercial purposes, other than irrigation of crops and forestry stock, shall develop and implement a water conservation plan as follows:

(i)            an audit of water use by type of activity (for example, process make-up water, non-contact cooling water) including existing and potential conservation and reuse measures for each type of water use;

(ii)           an implementation schedule for feasible measures identified in the above item for conservation and reuse of water at the facility.

(C)          Users of water for irrigation of crops and forestry stock shall provide the following information:

(i)            total acreage with irrigation available;

(ii)           types of crops that may be irrigated;

(iii)          method of irrigation (for example, wells that supply water to canals, ditches or central pivot systems or any other irrigation method using ground water);

(iv)          a statement that the applicant uses conservation practice standards for irrigation as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

(6)           If an applicant intends to operate an aquifer storage and recovery program (ASR), the applicant shall provide information on the storage zone, including the depth interval of the storage zone, lateral extent of the projected storage area, construction details of wells used for injection and withdrawal of water, and performance of the ASR program.

(e)  The Director shall issue, modify, revoke, or deny each permit as set forth in G.S. 143-215.15.  Permittees may apply for permit modifications.  Any application submitted by a permittee shall be subject to the public notice and comment requirements of G.S. 143-215.15(d).

(f)  Permit duration shall be set by the Director as described in G.S. 143-215.16(a).  Permit transferability is established in G.S. 143-215.16(b).

(g)  Persons holding a permit shall submit signed water usage and water level reports to the Director not later than 30 days after the end of each permit reporting period as specified in the permit.  Monitoring report requirements may include:

(1)           Amounts of daily withdrawal from each well.

(2)           Pumping and static water levels for each supply well as measured with a steel or electric tape, or an alternative method as specified in the permit, at time intervals specified in the permit.

(3)           Static water levels in observation wells at time intervals specified in the permit.

(4)           Annual sampling by applicants located in the salt water encroachment zone and chloride concentration analysis by a State certified laboratory.

(5)           Any other information the Director determines to be pertinent and necessary to the evaluation of the effects of withdrawals.

(h)  Water use permit holders shall not add new wells without prior approval from the Director.

(i)  The Director may require permit holders to construct observation wells to observe water level and water quality conditions before and after water withdrawals begin if there is a demonstrated need for aquifer monitoring to assess the impact of the withdrawal on the aquifer.

(j)  For all water uses other than dewatering of mines, pits or quarries, withdrawals shall be permitted only from wells that are constructed such that the pump intake or intakes are at a shallower depth than the top of the uppermost confined aquifer that yields water to the well.  Confined aquifer tops are established in the hydrogeological framework.  Where wells in existence as of the effective date of this Rule are not in compliance with the requirements of this provision, the permit shall include a compliance schedule for retrofitting or replacement of non-compliant wells.  Withdrawals from unconfined aquifers shall not lower the water table by an amount large enough to decrease the effective thickness of the unconfined aquifer by more than 50 percent.

(k)  For withdrawals to dewater mines, pits or quarries, the permit shall delimit the extent of the area and depths of the aquifer(s) to be dewatered or depressurized.  Maximum withdrawal rates and the permissible extent of dewatering or depressurization shall be determined by the Director using data provided by the applicant, data related to permits under G.S. 74-47, and other publicly available information.  Withdrawal rates that do not cause adverse impacts, as defined in Rule .0502(c) of this Section, shall be approved.

(l)  Withdrawals of water that cause changes in water quality such that the available uses of the resource are adversely affected shall not be permitted.  For example, withdrawals shall not be permitted that result in migration of ground water that contains more than 250 milligrams per liter chloride into pumping wells that contain chloride at concentrations below 250 milligrams per liter. 

(m)  General permits may be developed by the Division and issued by the Director for categories of withdrawal that involve the same or substantially similar operations, have similar withdrawal characteristics, require the same limitations or operating conditions, and require similar monitoring.

(n)  Permitted water users may withdraw and sell or transfer water to other users provided that their permitted withdrawal limits are not exceeded.

(o)  A permitted water user may sell or transfer to other users a portion of his permitted withdrawal.  To carry out such a transfer, the original permittee must request a permit modification to reduce his permitted withdrawal and the proposed recipient of the transfer must apply for a new or amended withdrawal permit under Section .0500 of this Subchapter. 

(p)  Where an applicant or a permit holder can demonstrate that compliance with water withdrawal limits established under Section .0500 of this Subchapter is not possible because of construction schedules, requirements of other laws, or other reasons beyond the control of the applicant or permit holder, and where the applicant or permit holder has made good faith efforts to conserve water and to plan the development of other water sources, the Director may issue a temporary permit with an alternative schedule to attain compliance with provisions of Section .0500 of this Subchapter, as authorized in G.S. 143-215.15(c)(ii).

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143-215.14; 143-215.15; 143-215.16;

Eff. August 1, 2002.