Administrative Watch: DEQ Addresses Drinking Water Controversy; Conservation Advocates Support Stronger Standards
NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary Michael Regan last week charged a state technical advisory committee to review questions concerning pollution control action standards for hexavalent chromium in drinking water.
DEQ was drawing swift heat over the release of an enforceable water filtration standard for this toxic pollutant, which is substantially higher than the health screening standard used by the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
DEQ assistant secretary for the environment Sheila Holman explained that the two departments want scientific guidance in resolving differences over the appropriate water safety standards. DEQ Secretary Regan is expected to name new members of the key Scientific Advisory Board (which is being tasked with this review) by the end of the month.
The question of what constituted acceptable levels of toxic chromium in drinking water plagued the last governor’s administration, which seemed to find every possible way to undermine public confidence in its handling of the matter. We are hopeful of a more transparent, health-oriented, and responsible approach for resolving this dispute under the current governor and DEQ secretary.
NCLCV is advocating for the adoption of stronger health protection standards by DEQ on this matter. To support this effort, see here.