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Jordan Lake rules enacted by NC General Assembly

Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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Raleigh, NC - The 2009 Regular Session of the NC General Assembly produced the following outcomes regarding the Jordan nutrient rules.

  • Eight of the thirteen rules were unchanged. They became effective the last day of the session, Aug. 11, 2009.
  • Four of the remaining five rules - New Development Stormwater; Riparian Buffer Protection; Wastewater; and State and Federal Stormwater - saw varying levels of revision but were also effective as of Aug. 11, 2009,
  • The Existing Development Rule was replaced in full by session law requirements and was effective as of June 30, 2009,
The revisions mentioned in the above bullets were enacted through two bills. The final Session Laws are:
Session Law 2009-216 (House Bill 239) was signed by the Governor on June 30, 2009. It does the following:
  • Replaces the entire Stormwater Management for Existing Development Rule (15A NCAC 02B .0266).
    • Requires local governments to submit Stage 1 adaptive management programs to DWQ by December 31, 2009.
    • Calls for lake impairment-triggered Stage 2 programs, which would involve load-reducing measures for existing development similar to the requirements of the original rule. The need for Stage 2 programs would be determined by water quality monitoring results for Jordan Lake provided by DWQ starting in 2014 for the Upper New Hope Arm and 2017 for the Haw and Lower New Hope Arms.
    • Calls for modifications of Stage 2 programs in the Upper New Hope Arm if water quality monitoring results show that nutrient-related water quality standards are still not being achieved in the arm by 2023. The modifications would involve more stringent load-reducing measures.
    • Requires the establishment of a Nutrient Sensitive Waters Scientific Advisory Board that will be tasked with identifying management strategies to reduce nutrient loading from existing development, evaluating the feasibility, costs, and benefits of the strategies, developing an accounting system for assignment of nutrient reduction credits for the strategies, and identifying the need for any improvements or refinements to modeling and other analytic tools used to evaluate water quality in nutrient-impaired waters and nutrient management strategies
  • Changes the nitrogen compliance date in the Wastewater Discharge Rule (.15A NCAC 02B .0270) from the beginning of the fifth full calendar year (2014) to 2016
Session Law 2009-484 (Senate Bill 838) was signed by the Governor on August 26, 2009. It amends SL 2009-216 by adding provisions addressing three other rules:
  • Stormwater Management for New Development (15A NCAC 02B .0265):
    • Raises the offsite offset thresholds from 4 and 8 lb/ac/yr to 6 and 10 lb/ac/yr for residential development and commercial/industrial/muti-family development respectively, while adding a minimum onsite treatment requirement of one BMP that achieves 85% TSS for all development that doesn’t meet loading targets;
  • Stormwater Requirements for State and Federal Entities (15A NCAC 02B .0271):
    • Changes the existing development requirements for state and federal entities to require lake impairment-triggered nutrient reduction programs similar to those required for local governments under S.L. 2009-216.
  • Protection of Existing Riparian Buffers (15A NCAC 02B .0267):
    • Requires a 30-day public comment period prior to EMC approval of alternative maps approved by the Geographic Information Coordinating Council. Such maps would be used for identifying streams that would be subject to buffer requirements.
    • Clarifies that the rule shall apply to activities that are conducted within, or outside of with hydrologic impacts upon riparian buffers.
While the timeframes for rule compliance are now set in motion, the session laws also require the EMC to adopt all of the changes into new or amended rules with the exact content of the session law, whereupon the session law will sunset. These actions will not alter the implementation timeframes already set in motion, but will leave all of the Jordan requirements embodied in one location, the set of EMC rules.

Strategy Content

The strategy is designed around nitrogen and phosphorus percent reduction goals for each of the three arms of Jordan Reservoir. Separate goals were needed for each arm because of the hyrdrologically distinct behavior exhibited by each arm and the different inputs from each watershed. The strategy targets all of the major nutrient contributors throughout the watershed. In their final form, there are 13 rules in all. They include a purpose and goals rule, a definitions rule, rules for each major source type, and a trading rule. In terms of individual sources, the Wastewater Discharge Rule sets annual mass allocations for existing wastewater dischargers in the watershed. Several rules require stormwater controls to reduce nutrient load coming from new and existing developed lands, including state and federally owned lands. There is also a rule that addresses fertilizer application throughout the watershed. The Agriculture Rule establishes collective nutrient reduction goals for all persons engaging in agricultural operations in the watershed. The strategy also contains several rules addressing the protection and mitigation of impacts to riparian buffers. Most of the rules require reductions to be met within nine years or less, with the exception of the Existing Development Rules, which call on local governments to propose load reduction timeframes to achieve the percentage goals.

Brief Summaries of All Rules

Clean Text of Each Final Rule

While the strategy is similar in form to previous nutrient strategies implemented in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basins, differences from those strategies include stormwater requirements for all local governments in the watershed, local implementation of buffer rules, a rule requiring local governments to achieve loading reductions from existing developed lands, a separate stormwater rule for state and federal entities, and a separate rule outlining a trading framework to maximize options for cost-effective reductions. The existing development rule was included because of the substantial nutrient loading coming from existing development in the watershed. The rules also include the concept of adaptive management, given the combination of the long-term nature of any such restoration initiative, the potential costs associated with each management action, and uncertainties associated with the lake’s response to lower nutrient inputs. The Division will evaluate the strategy’s effectiveness after at least ten years, based on trend analysis and lake use support assessments, and may develop additional watershed modeling. Any future modifications to the strategy would require additional rulemaking.

Additional information is available in the links below:


Rules Approved by the RRC (11/20/2008)

(Marked-up versions that went out for Public Comment)

Compiled Rules approved by the November RRC

Text of the Individual Rules Approved by the November RRC ****************************************************************************

Public Comment Period and Subsequent Hearing Officers' Deliberations

Executive Summary for Report of Proceedings

Report of Proceedings on Proposed Rules For the B. Everett Jordan Reservoir Water Supply Nutrient Strategy (05/08/2008)
Appendix C. Text of Rules with Hearing Officers' Recommended Changes

Appendix D. Summary of Public Comments With Staff Replies
Funding Resolution

Information Provided for Public Comment and Public Comments Received

Final TMDL (09/20/2007)
Public Hearing Power Point Presentation (07/17/2007)

History and Strategy Summary (8 pages) (06/21/2007)

Public Hearings Announcement (3 pages) (06/15/2007)

Fiscal Analysis of Costs to Affected Parties (187 pages) (06/11/2007)

Written Comments Submitted During Public Comment Period

Text Of The Proposed Rules That Went Out To Public Comment (06/15/2007) -

All 12 Rules compiled:

Individual Rules: ****************************************************************************

Information Supporting Design of the Strategy

Jordan Lake Stakeholder Project - Final Report (38 pages) (02/07/2005)

Water Quality Models

14-digit HUC Delivery Factors - GIS Files (zip file 851KB)

Maps of Jordan Lake Watershed - Map and County Info (PP 1.2Mb) - BitMap (20Mb)

Survey of Agriculture in the Lake Jordan Watershed - NCSU Dept of Soil Science, (71 pages) ( Final 11/07/2007)

For more information contact:

Division of Water Quality staff:
Rich Gannon, Environmental Supervisor - 919-807-6440 -
Jason Robinson, Environmental Engineer - 919-807-6439 -

FAX: 919-807-6497

Nonpoint Source Planning Unit
NC Division of Water Quality
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1617

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Jordan Lake rules enacted by NC General Assembly

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