Online Public Hearing: Proposed Removal of Swamp Classification and Portion of Water Quality Management Plan from Part of Cape Fear River


Removal of the supplemental Swamp (Sw) classification and removal of a portion of a water quality management plan from a portion of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties (Cape Fear River Basin) has been proposed. A public hearing is going to be conducted to receive public comments on this proposal.  

The purpose of the entire water quality management plan was to help implement the current permitting policy for new, and expansions of, individual NPDES wastewater discharges.  The management plan in conjunction with the Sw designation was intended to help provide a path forward for these wastewater discharges, and thus for local communities, for future planning purposes.  
The proposal is a result of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission (EMC) granting a petition from the Cape Fear River Watch and Waterkeeper Alliance to remove the Sw classification from these waters, and is a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disapproving the Sw classification and portion of the associated water quality management plan for these waters. EPA requires that water quality standards, including classifications, that are adopted by states must be approved by EPA, and thus, there would be no regulatory impact from removing the Sw classification or associated portion of the management plan for these waters due to EPA disapproval. Lastly, the proposed rulemaking would provide clarity and transparency regarding the rules applicable to these waters.  

How to register for the hearing, listen to the hearing, and provide comments: 
To register for the hearing and provide a preference about speaking at the hearing, visit ; registration must be completed by 12:00 pm on October 20, 2020. If you have any problems registering online, please call 919-707-9011 by the registration deadline of 12:00 pm on October 20, 2020. 
To listen online, please use the above-mentioned WebEx link and password. Testing your computer's WebEx capabilities is highly recommended prior to the hearing at For instructions about digital ways to join the public hearing, please refer to the WebEx Help Center online at The hearing can be joined starting at 5:45 pm.
To listen by telephone, please use the above-mentioned WebEx phone number and access code.    
To comment during the hearing after your name is called as a registered speaker and/or after the hearing officer asks if any people wish to comment following the registered speakers: 
- If you join the hearing by phone, press *3 to “raise your hand,” speak once called upon to do so, and press *3 again to “lower your hand.”  
- If you join the hearing online, press the hand icon to “raise your hand,” speak once called upon to do so, and press the hand icon again to “lower your hand.”  
- The Hearing Officer may limit the length of time that you may speak, so that all those who wish to speak may do so. 
To comment in writing: Comments will be accepted until November 2, 2020, and may be submitted to Elizabeth Kountis, Division of Water Resources (DWR) Planning Section, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1611. Written comments may also be submitted to

Further information about this proposal can be found in the following documents: