NC Department of Environmental Quality

NC Department of Environmental Quality

Environment Top Story

Tropical Storm Elsa is headed for NC: Here’s how to learn if you live in a flood zone, near environmental hazards

The first tropical system of the summer, named Elsa, is expected to cause localized flooding in North Carolina tomorrow, as it crosses into Scotland and Richmond counties in the morning and then travels through the central part of the state. Here is a brief tutorial for learning whether you're in a flood zone and what other environmental hazards could lurk below the water.

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Environment Top Story

‘Sooner’ or ‘later’? Fate of Wake Stone quarry near Umstead State Park hinges on one word

Former N.C. Attorney General says there was no typo, but the state intended for mining to wind down in 2032, not the 22nd century One word — “sooner” — in a 40-year-old mining permit could alter the future of a quarry and its proposed expansion adjacent to Umstead State Park in Raleigh.

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Environment News Top Story

Uncharted territory: Senate committee rejects nomination of NC DEQ Secretary Delli-Gatti

In a snub to Gov. Roy Cooper and an apparent affirmation of the political power of energy utilities, the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee rejected the confirmation of Secretary of the Environment Dionne Delli-Gatti today during a tumultuous and heated hearing.

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Environment News Top Story

PW exclusive: PFAS levels spiking in monitoring wells in New Hanover County

Concentration of toxic compounds up 260% in one well, compared with last year Levels of perfluorinated compounds, also known as PFAS, have surged in several monitoring wells in New Hanover County recent data show, prompting state regulators to investigate potential sources.

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Environment Top Story

Senate committee holds hostile confirmation hearing for Cooper DEQ nominee

And it's not over; hearing to be continued. Not until Minute 100 of a 120-minute confirmation hearing for Secretary of the Environment nominee Dionne Delli-Gatti did any lawmaker speak the words “environmental justice.” Even then, the context for the comment was not one of concern for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods who are disproportionately burdened by polluting industries.

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Environment Top Story

Converting hog waste into energy: Not as neat and simple as it might sound

Public comment period ends Sunday on Optima TH's air pollution permit for facility at Smithfield slaughterhouse   Optima TH has applied for a state air quality permit to operate a major biogas facility at Smithfield Fresh Meats in the Bladen County town of Tar Heel. If approved, Optima TH could emit 24,500 to 40,800 tons of greenhouse gases each year.

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Environment News Top Story

Mystery deepens over origin of dangerous chemicals found at massive gasoline spill

Colonial Pipeline's own tests indicate high levels of PFAS that could be linked to clean-up efforts, but state regulators say they need more data Mysterious discrepancies in test results between Colonial Pipeline and the NC Department of Environmental Quality have raised questions about the origin of toxic perfluorinated compounds — PFAS — found in material used at a major gasoline spill in Huntersville.

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Environment Top Story

Hamlet residents: “We don’t want to be crash test dummies” for facility that would process creosote-treated railroad ties

Comment period ends March 3 for International Tie Disposal site, proposed for an environmental justice community Barbara Brealy has attended Marks Creek Presbyterian Church in Hamlet all of her 80 years. Since last May, Brealy and her fellow 92 congregants — a third of them older than 65 — have attended Sunday services outside, forced out of their pews by the pandemic. The notion that they and future generations of churchgoers could be subjected to more than 100 tons of pollution from a proposed nearby facility did not sit well with her.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at where hazardous waste sites in NC are located

There are more than 2,000 known hazardous waste sites in North Carolina, and more than 10% of them lie within a flood plain. These flood-prone waste sites presents particular threats to nearby residents and ecosystems because the rush of water can displace the contamination, sending it downstream, into flooded homes and neighborhoods, and even private drinking water wells.

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Environment Top Story

Just add water: Alcoa proposes discharging cyanide into Badin Lake

To try to comply with state water quality requirements, the company has a creative, if dubious solution. A proposed deal between Alcoa and the NC Department of Environmental Quality would allow the company to increase the amount of cyanide it discharges into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination — and a drinking water supply — in Stanly County.

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Environment News Top Story

Hog farm that spilled 1 million gallons of feces, urine into waterways had been warned of lagoon problems

DC Mills Farm has familial ties to another operation that incurred a record fine A Jones County farm that spilled an estimated 1 million gallons of hog feces and urine into a tributary of the Trent River shortly before Christmas had been cited twice in the past year by state regulators because its lagoon was too full.

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Environment News Top Story

DEQ Secretary Michael Regan is leading contender for top EPA job under Biden administration

Supporters, detractors grade Regan's performance as NC DEQ secretary A few days before state lawmakers confirmed Michael Regan as Secretary of the Environment in 2017, he appeared in Mebane, where he spoke to the West End Revitalization Association and other environmental justice advocates.

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Environment Top Story

Contamination prompts Colonial Pipeline to buy three homes near Huntersville gasoline spill

Company still hasn't revealed total volume of gasoline released in August; DEQ wants answers by Dec. 23. The garage is empty and spotless. A man lugs garbage bags stuffed with soft goods and crams them into his car, filling the back seat and passenger side.

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Environment News Top Story

What happens when there’s no clean water left to drink?

Pittsboro, Fuquay-Varina want to buy drinking water from Sanford. But that town's water is contaminated with PFAS. At least 1 million people living from Pittsboro to Wilmington in the Cape Fear River Basin could be exposed to high levels of toxic perfluorinated compounds.

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COVID-19 Environment Top Story

COVID-19 quarantine creates record amounts of trash

Dan Parker wants to talk trash.  Actually, he’s been talking trash for more than six years. Parker’s job at Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department brings him up close to the discards and undesirables of the city’s residents. But the last seven months of the pandemic brought a load unlike any other for Parker and his team. 

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Environment Top Story

Two weeks after Colonial Pipeline gasoline spill, Huntersville residents alarmed about ongoing lack of transparency

Town of Huntersville holding public meeting tonight to answer questions about the spill and the cleanup plan. In the early evening of Aug. 14, a person riding an ATV near the Oehler Nature Preserve in Huntersville saw a strange phenomenon: liquid gurgling from beneath the ground and spreading downhill.

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