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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Water Quality - Tracking Progress

Water Quality

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Tar-Pamlico: Tracking Progress

Estuary Progress

The 2010 Use Assessment of the Pamlico Estuary shows chlorophyll-a based Impaired conditions cover nearly the same area in 2010 as they did in the 1994.  This lack of improvement partially reflects incoming nutrient loads to the Tar-Pamlico estuary.  Decreased concentrations of inorganic nitrogen (i.e., nitrate/nitrite, ammonia) have been matched by increased organic nitrogen concentrations (i.e., Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen), negating improvement in total nitrogen levels. Similarly, phosphorus concentrations have shown no significant trend over the same time period.  More information on the status of the nutrient strategy can be found in the 2010 Tar-Pamlico Basinwide Water Quality Plan.  

2010 Use Support Ratings (map)

Point Source Progress

Point source dischargers are operating under their Phase 3 agreement to both reduce their nitrogen loads by 30% and maintain their phosphorus levels from 1991 levels.  To date, improved waste treatment technologies have lead to point sources achieving these reductions in spite of increasing flows (see figures). 

Nitrogen Nutrient Loads and Caps 1991-2011 (chart)

Phosphorus Nutrient Loads and Caps 1991-2011 (chart)

Annual Nutrient Loads and Caps (table)

Agriculture Progress

Agricultural nutrient inputs and losses are tracked through the Nitrogen Loss Estimation Worksheet (NLEW).  According to NLEW in both 2008 and 2009, agricultural operations collectively achieved an estimated 50% reduction in nitrogen loss compared to the 1991 baseline, continuing to exceed the nutrient strategies mandated 30% reduction.  All fourteen LACs exceeded the mandated 30% reduction goal.

Agricultural Annual Nitrogen 2002 - 2011 (chart)

Annual Progress Reports: 2012201120102009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005


More Links on Tracking Progress

Nutrient Trend Analysis: 1991-2008

Water Quality Assessment Reports

 

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