BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro was approved for a grant of $18,400 from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center to conduct an engineering study to examine water distribution system capability to comply with the changes in the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR)
implemented disinfection by-products requirements. Those changes are effective Oct. 1.
“That's $ 18,400 that the Town and its citizens will not have to spend on a State mandate that we must comply with,” Town Manager Alan Thornton said.
Members of the town council first learned of the new regulations in February as Public Works Director Troy Lewis gave them an update on three projects pertaining to the town’s water and sewer system.
At the time, Lewis explained the “Disinfection Byproducts Study” and said the fact it was being required related to the fact the Tar River is the community’s source of drinking water.
Lewis said, “Because organic materials are present in the river water, its mixture with chlorine can cause violations of the Clean Water Act with Disinfection Byproducts (DBP).”
Tarboro was cited for six DBP-related violations between December 2011 and the retreat. Lewis told council members that four of those violations were related to an increased usage of chlorine following Hurricane Irene.
In the past, he said, the EPA policy allowed for an averaging of readings — meaning that a violation in one area could be offset by good readings elsewhere. That policy will change on October 1 and averaging is no longer allowed.
“If it is a violation, it is a violation,” he explained. “The new policy will make compliance even more difficult.”
At the time Lewis told council members the cost of the study was about $40,000.