Point Source Pollution
Point Source pollution is that which can be traced to the entrance point of the pollutant to the effected water body. Storm water discharges from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants along with smaller scale treatment plants are generally included as point source pollution. Runoff from these areas carry oxygen-consuming wastes and toxins such as metals, chlorine, and ammonia contaminating water supplies. Residents directly at the point of discharge as well as those downstream are affected by the release of these pollutants.
Wastewater is considered the intentional discharge of by-products from industrial, commercial or residential sources. There are six identified wastewater sources:
• Major Facilities
Sources which have a flow of one million gallons per day or greater. Usually consists of large municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities
• Minor Facilities
Sources with a flow less than one million gallons per day.
• 100% Domestic Waste
Sources that treat and deal with domestic waste
• Municipal Facilities
Sources that serve residential and industrial areas
• Industrial Facilities
Sources from industrial processes such as textile and power production
• Other Facilities
All other sources including groundwater remediation and schools
The Haw River Basin contains 90 wastewater facilities. Different facilities within the Basin have various flow levels per day. Flow is measured in million gallons of water per day (MGD). In total there are:
• 14 major facilities (110.8 MGD)
• 12 of the 90 facilities have municipal connections (105.8 MGD)
• 69 of the 90 facilities do not have municipal connections (5 MGD)
• 41 of the 90 facilities deal with domestic waste (2.1 MGD)
Storm water is the result of abnormally excessive water flow across landscapes due to heavy rains or snowstorms. Storm water gathers toxic substances, nutrients, chemicals, sediment, and various other pollutants which then flow to nearby water sources eventually entering the Haw River. In 1990, the US Environmental Protection Agency directed the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources to institute Phase I storm water permits to regulate the release of storm water from large municipalities. In 1996 Phase II was drafted and is currently being instated for smaller municipalities. Burlington, for example, is in the process of implementing a Storm Water Division in its Public Works Department. Individual permits have been issued to the following companies:
• Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (South Buffalo Creek)
• Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (Troublesome Creek)
• Burlington Chemical Co. (Gurn Creek)
• Chemol Company, Inc. (Mile Run Creek)
• Dow Corning Corp. (South Buffalo Creek)
• Duke Power Fairfax Ops Center (South Buffalo Creek)
• GKN Automotive Components, Inc (Buffalo Creek)
• Glaxo-Welcome, Inc., Durham Co. (Northeast Creek)
• HB Fuller Company- Guilford Co. (South Buffalo Creek)
• National Specialty Gases (Northeast Creek)
• Safety-Kleen ( Troublesome Creek)
• SCM Metal Products, Inc. (Northeast Creek and Stirrup Iron Creek)
• Stockhausen, Inc. (Mile Run Creek)
• South Atlantic Services, Inc (Fishing Creek)
• Southern Foundries Corp. (North Buffalo Creek)
• Unichem, Inc. ( Haw River)
• Unitex Chemical Corp. (South Buffalo Creek)
• University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UT Bolin Creek)
Point Source Regulation
The North Carolina Department of Environment’s Division of Water Quality regulates point source pollution. Regulation is carried out through permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) at the state level. The NPDES system includes seven major points to follow:
• National Permit Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Review and Processing
Permits are issued in two categories, individual or general, and valid for five years. Individual permits are for specific facilities while general permits serve an industry.
• Wasteload Allocation Modeling
Determines the quality and quantity of discharge which a certain body of water can facilitate.
• Aquatic Toxicity Testing
Determines current quality of water and provides data for wasteload modeling.
Focuses on the ability to reduce harmful pollutants being discharged.
• Operator Certification and Training
Assures discharges are handled by properly trained individuals.
• Nondischarge and Regional Wastewater Alternative
Encourages the reduction of pollution discharges through the use of alternative methods of pollution removal.
• Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement
Assures the guidelines and regulations are followed.
Map of NPDES permits in the Haw River Basin