EPA awards grant to North Carolina to protect drinking water

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $3.042m to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to protect drinking water.

Made under the Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) programme, the award will be used to implement the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and will go toward NCDEQ’s oversight of the 5,677 public water systems serving about nine million people.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said: “In North Carolina, NCDEQ is the delegated authority for most environmental programmes.

“This grant exemplifies how EPA partners with states to give them the flexibility to administer and enforce programmes that ensure drinking water is safe.”

North Carolina will use a portion of the funds to implement new drinking water regulations that will come into force during this year or next year.

Further, the state will be able to continue to implement the new Revised Total Coliform Rule, which aims to reduce the incidence of fecal contamination in public water systems.

The regulation will support the state in inspecting about 2200 water systems to identify and require correction of deficiencies that can pose serious risks to public health.

NCDEQ staff will also conduct about 3000 site visits to assist water systems in investigating customer complaints and solving site-specific operational problems.

Initially, NCDEQ received $1.775m funding from EPA to support their drinking water-related environmental programmes.