New research highlights companies repeatedly dumping pollutants into North Carolina waters
Industrial facilities dumped excessive pollution into North Carolina’s waterways 90 times over 21 months, according to a new report released this morning by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. The facilities rarely faced penalties for this pollution. Environment North Carolina’s Troubled Waters report comes as the Trump administration is trying to weaken clean water protections and slash enforcement funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states.
“All North Carolina waterways should be clean for swimming, drinking, and wildlife,” said Mathew Starr, the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper with Sound Rivers. “But industrial polluters are still dumping chemicals that threaten our health and environment, and no one is holding them accountable.”
In reviewing Clean Water Act compliance data from January 2016 through September 2017, the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group found that major industrial facilities are regularly dumping pollution beyond legal limits set to protect human health and the environment, in North Carolina and across the country.
For example, the report shows that Phillips Plating Company in Bridgeton poured pollutants in excess of its permit limits nine times into Mills Branch, a waterway already classified as impaired and which flows directly into the Neuse River, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ICIS database. On three occasions, their level of pollution exceeded more than 100% of their permit limit.
Neuse River Brewing hosted today’s report release. President and Founder, Ryan Kolarov, noted that “Clean water is critically important to good beer. It’s the primary ingredient and without it we wouldn’t have such a great product and we wouldn’t have a successful business that supports my family and our employees.”
The report also shows that polluters rarely face penalties and recommends several measures to ensure stronger enforcement of, and protection for, clean water. Unfortunately, decision-makers in Washington could soon make the pattern of pollution worse.
“Our waterways are facing threats on multiple fronts. The Trump administration is moving to weaken several clean water protections and has proposed slashing enforcement funding for U.S. EPA and state departments of environmental protection; all this while we are grappling with the issue of emerging contaminants, like Gen X, which deserve more study and lack adequate regulation. The EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality need sufficient funding to protect the waterways where we fish, swim, and get our drinking water” according to Drew Ball, Director of Environment North Carolina.
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Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center works to protect clean water, clean air, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.