Call on NCDEQ: Update NC’s Spill Notification System to Keep People and Waterways Safe

North Carolina’s notification system for pollution spills hasn’t caught up to modern times. The only public notice required for polluting our waterways is an outdated law that calls for polluters to send a press release and post an ad in a newspaper.

MountainTrue believes the public has a right to know about major pollution spills that impact our waterways as soon as possible, and through the technology the public uses today. Sign the petition below to tell NCDEQ: update NC’s spill notification system for the 21st century. 

Many people no longer get their news from print newspapers, and in many WNC counties papers only run once or twice a week. Yet here’s the current state law: When a polluter spills over 1,000 gallons of sewage into a waterway, the polluter is required to notify the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and to send out a press release to local news media within 24 hours. If a sewage spill is over 15,000 gallons, it must also be published in the newspapers of affected counties in the form of an advertisement within 10 days. For any other type of pollution, no public notification is required.

The current law means residents can be exposed to polluted waterways for days before learning about a spill in a newspaper – and newspapers aren’t even required to publish this news even then. 

On January 14, MountainTrue’s water team will meet with DEQ staff to urge them to upgrade their spill notification system. But to win their support, we need to show them that the public cares about this issue.

Sign the petition below to tell the NC Department of Environmental Quality: Update your spill notification system for modern times to keep North Carolina’s people and waterways safe. 

Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.