skip to main content | skip to footer
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Water Quality - About Sections

Water Quality

About DWR/WQP Sections

The Division of Water Resources Water Quality Program is divided into administrative offices and five sections that work together to efficiently and effectively protect the state's surface water and groundwater resources through quality monitoring programs, efficient permitting, responsible management, fair and effective enforcement and excellence in public service. The Sections are:

Aquifer ProtectionEnvironmental SciencesLaboratory ServicesPlanningSurface Water Protection

Aquifer Protection

The Aquifer Protection Section, with offices in Raleigh and DWQ's seven regional offices, focuses on the protection and enhancement of the state's groundwater - the primary source of drinking water for half of North Carolina residents. Since groundwater connects to and provides recharge for surface water streams, rivers and lakes, protecting groundwater also protects surface water. To protect these important resources, the section:

  • Implements permitting and compliance for wastewater that is applied to land, whether it is from municipal, industrial or animal feeding operation treatment systems.
  • Permits construction of wells for monitoring groundwater quality and for extracting or treating contaminated groundwater.
  • Permits construction of injection wells, such as those used for heating and cooling, or aiding in remediation.
  • Does groundwater planning and research on the interaction of groundwater and surface water and groundwater and geological formations in order to better characterize and anticipate groundwater contamination and potential threats to human health.
  • Supports a groundwater drilling team to aid in research and investigation of groundwater contamination.

↑ Return to top

Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Sciences Section provides DWQ with the biological and technical support required to regulate and manage water quality throughout the state. Among the sections responsibilities:

  • Evaluate waters of the state based on the aquatic insect and fish communities they support, and the examination of fish tissue.
  • Study of the effect of complex wastewater on the aquatic communities
  • Administer discharge coalition monitoring for entities permitted through the federal NPDES program
  • Monitor chemical, physical and bacteriological parameters in the state's streams, rivers and lakes, and interpreting the data for use by the other division programs.

↑ Return to top

Laboratory Services

The Laboratory Section supports the division through the central laboratory in Raleigh and a regional laboratory in Asheville, NC. The section:

  • Analyzes routine samples from a variety of sources including monitoring wells, wastewater discharges, streams, lakes, rivers, compliance monitoring activities.
  • Helps the division to respond to emergency episodes through aiding in sampling plan design and conducting sample analysis.
  • Works with the DENR Division of Waste Management to provide analysis for samples from underground storage tank sites.
  • Certifies commercial, industrial, municipal and field laboratories that submit data for state permitted clients.

↑ Return to top

Planning

The Planning Section supports the division's mission through a number of programs including:

  • Developing Basinwide Water Quality Plans for each of the state's 17 river basins every five years on a rotating basis;
  • Preparing and administering rule-making for stream classifications, nutrient sensitive waters and several other division initiatives;
  • Evaluating and implement surface water and groundwater standards in line with the latest scientific information and federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements
  • Administering state and federal grants for non-point sources of pollution and water quality planning.
  • Compiling and evaluating data to be used in reports on surface waters of the state and identifying those waters that are impaired.
  • Developing TMDL - Total Maximum Daily Load - plans for waters where sources of pollutants that cause water quality impacts that exceed state and federal standards have been identified.

↑ Return to top

Surface Water Protection

The Surface Water Protection Section, with staff in Raleigh and DWQ's seven regional offices, is responsible for:

  • Implementing state and federal permitting and compliance programs for point source wastewater treatment.
  • Administration of the federal pretreatment program for industrial wastewater going to municipal treatment facilities
  • Permitting for the operation and maintenance of sewage collection systems. Permitting and compliance for wetlands and stream impacts including waterside buffer protection,
  • Development of programs for stream and wetlands protection and enhancement.
  • Developing DWQ Emergency Response for sewage system overflows, oil spills, hurricanes, industrial explosions, and other instances where water quality may be acutely imperiled.

↑ Return to top

38364 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.