NC Department of Environmental Quality

NC Department of Environmental Quality

Environment Top Story

Wildlife Resources hastily rescued a species of rare fish. Now we know whether the beloved brookies survived

On a crisp summer morning in the mountains, TJ Johnson, a conservation biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, hoists a metal box the size of a mini-fridge onto his back. Clad in rubber waders and rubber gloves, he dips two electrodes the shape of snowshoes into the stream. The box beeps, a red light flashes, and Johnson jolts the water with 400 volts of electricity.

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Environment Top Story

A company clear-cut vast tracts of mountain forest, jeopardizing the survival of a beloved, unique trout

Companies owned by Alleghany County-based Bottomley Properties have a long violation history; DEQ has yet to fine them for latest round of damage The brookies were in danger of dying. Last June, after the spring thaw and a hard summer rain, a torrent of mud, dirt and rock, in some spots two feet deep, had gushed into Ramey Creek and its tributaries, potentially suffocating the fish and/or destroying their home.

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Monday numbers: Our concrete jungles harm vulnerable people and contribute to climate change

A city block can make all the difference. On a sunny day last summer, the temperature in Nash Square, an urban oasis in Raleigh shaded by magnolia and oak trees, was two degrees cooler than the concrete jungle a block away. The Urban Heat Island Mapping Project released its first round of results earlier this month, which illustrated the stark differences in how land use affects not only the temperature, but people.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the state’s impaired, polluted waters

If you linked all the miles of impaired streams and rivers in North Carolina end to end, they would extend from the mountains to the sea four times. Add the total acreage of the state's impaired lakes, reservoirs and estuaries, and the breadth would equal nearly 2,000 golf courses.

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Environment

Air testing planned for neighborhood adjacent to contaminated former missile plant in Burlington

Extent of toxic solvents still unknown; new round of testing to begin

Environmental testing could restart as early as next month at a former Army missile plant in East Burlington, the next step in cleaning up widespread contamination that has burdened a Black and Latinx neighborhood for more than 30 years.

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Environment News Top Story

Monday numbers: NC’s biggest sewage offenders rack up millions of dollars in fines

Sewage backing up into people's showers in Currituck County. Millions of gallons of hog waste flooding streams and wetlands Down East. Problems at student apartments near Appalachian State and Western Carolina universities in the mountains. Illegal wastewater discharges are not merely a nuisance, but a threat to public health and the environment. Fecal material can contaminate drinking water wells and waterways. Industrial wastewater can contain numerous contaminants that enter the drinking water supply.

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Environment Top Story

“We don’t have time to wait”: Residents tell DEQ it must quickly regulate toxic PFAS in drinking water

North Carolina lags behind several states in regulating PFAS, prompting residents with contaminated drinking water to again urge state environmental officials to regulate the toxic compounds. “Lives are on the line,” said Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, at the Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board meeting yesterday. “DEQ and DHHS are not acting quickly enough.”

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Snow Camp residents claim small, but important victory in fight over Alamance Aggregates mine

Court testimony revealed how the Mining Act favors industry. Boom.  Crack.  Boom.  Crack. During the last two weeks of September, Alamance Aggregates began ...
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Environment Top Story

EPA finally launches major effort to curb PFAS pollution, to mixed reviews about whether it’s enough

The Lake Raleigh fishing pier lies 80 miles north of Ground Zero for the toxic compound GenX, the Chemours chemical plant near the Bladen-Cumberland county line. Presumably, you could safely eat the fish caught from this lake, which is on the NC State University campus, but given the widespread PFAS contamination of North Carolina’s waterways, only testing could tell you for sure.

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Environment Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Former Army missile plant in Burlington poses “an urgent public health risk”

Private owners neglect the contaminated property, posing an environmental threat to a Black and Latinx neighborhood

This is the second of a two-part story about hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that is threatening a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

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Environment News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Clear and present danger: Former Army missile plant has polluted a Black, Latino neighborhood in Burlington for more than 30 years

Military, private owner have allowed toxic contaminants to fester, avoided penalties while residents bear environmental burden Tattooed in ivy, bound in chain-link fence, Building 16 casts an ominous three-story shadow over several homes along Hilton Road. The window blinds are torn, as if it were sleeping with one eye open.

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Environment Featured Articles

Peligro inminente: Una antigua planta de misiles del Ejército ha contaminado un vecindario negro y latino durante 30 años

El Ejército y los propietarios privados han permitido que los contaminantes tóxicos se enconen sin tener que pagar ninguna multa, mientras los residentes ...
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Environment News Top Story

Methyl bromide, a neurotoxin that carves holes in the ozone layer, is up for permitting at the Port of Wilmington

The Port of Wilmington is a 284-acre maze of steel, cable and concrete where ships as long as three football fields maneuver through the channel. Cranes hoist shipping containers and stack them like Lego blocks. Inbound or outbound, they are crammed with goods — grains and wood, chemicals and clothes — and are headed for the railroad, the highway, or 26 miles down the river to the open sea.

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Skilled in diplomacy, Elizabeth Biser coasts to NC DEQ Secretary confirmation

As a former lobbyist, Elizabeth Biser is accustomed to corralling the lions and the lambs.  Those diplomatic skills helped Biser win over the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee, which today voted to confirm her as the new secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality. She will be the first woman to lead the department.

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Environment Top Story

Tropical Storm Elsa is headed for NC: Here’s how to learn if you live in a flood zone, near environmental hazards

The first tropical system of the summer, named Elsa, is expected to cause localized flooding in North Carolina tomorrow, as it crosses into Scotland and Richmond counties in the morning and then travels through the central part of the state. Here is a brief tutorial for learning whether you're in a flood zone and what other environmental hazards could lurk below the water.

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Environment Top Story

‘Sooner’ or ‘later’? Fate of Wake Stone quarry near Umstead State Park hinges on one word

Former N.C. Attorney General says there was no typo, but the state intended for mining to wind down in 2032, not the 22nd century One word — “sooner” — in a 40-year-old mining permit could alter the future of a quarry and its proposed expansion adjacent to Umstead State Park in Raleigh.

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