2090 U.S. 70 Highway Swannanoa, NC 28778-8211
Public Water Supply Section Supervisor: Kimberly Barnett
There are two sections active in each regional office: the Public Water Supply Section and the Water Quality Regional Operations Section (WQROS). Regional staff are responsible for regulatory and permit compliance, complaint and emergency response, a range of field activities and limited permitting issuance.
The Public Water Supply regional office staff work directly with public water supply system owners and operators to ensure the safety of drinking water in accordance with the requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the North Carolina Drinking Water Act. These requirements are primarily specified in federal rules that North Carolina has adopted by reference. This is accomplished by providing technical and regulatory assistance and training, conducting sanitary surveys (inspections), reviewing and approving sample plans and reports and issuing notices of deficiency or violation.
WQROS implements a wide scope of programs focused on surface water and groundwater quality protection. Surface water protection compliance programs are heavily focused on requirements of the Clean Water Act and state regulations. Programs include the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program centered around regulating the discharge of waste to surface water and the 401 Water Quality Certification program that general regulates the placement of fill and alteration of streams. Other programs regulated by regional staff include collection systems, pretreatment programs, land application of residuals, animal feed operations, wetland and stream determinations, and many more. Staff activities include compliance inspections, complaint response, water quality monitoring, enforcement, permit draft review and limited permit issuance.
Groundwater protection programs include the regulation of a range of groundwater well types, coal ash storage, agricultural chemical impacts, and naturally occurring groundwater contaminants. The regional office issues permits for an array of well types including underground injection, geothermal, certain supply wells and aquifer storage.
Other Asheville Regional Office WQROS Programs
The Asheville Regional Office also houses a water quality laboratory. The lab provides analytical services for a range of water quality parameters commonly used by staff to identify non-compliance and assess risks to human health and the environment.
Recreational Water Quality Monitoring
In the 2022 state budget, the legislature approved a pilot program for inland recreational water quality monitoring for Western North Carolina. The program is currently in development and focused on high-use areas of the French Broad River near Asheville. The program will evaluate monitoring approaches to accurately assess and communicate to citizens bacteria levels in select surface waters. The transient water quality conditions of natural inland streams offer challenges to the traditional weekly monitoring of recreational waters. For more information on E. coli, a bacteria type used as an indicator of the presence of fecal bacteria, please see the E. coli Frequently Asked Questions document.
Watershed and Use Restoration Program
Since 2007, the Asheville WQROS section has been actively engaging, facilitating, and fostering local watershed improvement efforts. Local watershed groups are highly effective at addressing local water quality issues such as assessing and resolving impacts where streams have been listed as impaired. The regional program engages these groups to provide technical assistance, monitoring and to fully leverage DWR’s data and resource assessment capabilities.
During the normal workday - Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. - call the regional office closest to the environmental emergency. Additional information may be needed by staff for a fast response time, therefore do not leave a message. If it is outside of normal business hours, call the emergency hotline at:
and an appropriate regional staff member will be alerted.
Several permits for activities regulated by the Division of Water Resources are issued through the regional offices.
Permits for non-pressurized sewer system extensions may be issued through the regional offices. Applications for pressurized sewer system extensions must be sent to the DWI Infrastructure Finance Section.
Permits for the installation of several types of wells - industrial high volume water supply (>100,000 gallons per day), monitoring, recovery - and irrigation well construction variances may be issued through the regional offices.
Wetland and Stream Impacts
Activities that require a US Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit may also require a 401 Certification from DWR. If the project disturbs less than an acre, the 401 Certification may be issued by the regional office.
In addition to these permitting activities, the regional office staff may issue modifications for other permits including management plans for animal operations, biosolids application sites and non-discharge land application systems.
Pump and Haul Permits
Pump and haul permits are issued only through the regional offices of the Water Quality Regional Operations Section. Pump and haul permits for domestic wastewater shall only be issued in cases of environmental emergencies, nuisance conditions (e.g. odors, vectors) health problems, or for unavoidable delays in construction of systems previously permitted under this Section.