North Carolina Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Heated discharges: 15A North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) 2B.0211

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Fresh surface Class C water: 15A NCAC 2B.0211(3)(j)

Tidal salt Class SC water: 15A NCAC 2B.0220(3)(k)

Mixing zones: 15A NCAC 2B.0204(b)

Regulatory Agency

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Division of Water Resources

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. North Carolina has developed thermal discharge regulations that conform to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The regulations provide for geographically specific temperature standards for effluent discharges. The thermal discharge regulations are divided between fresh surface water and tidal salt water. For more information, see the national section THERMAL DISCHARGES.

Administration and enforcement. DENR's Division of Water Resources is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the state's thermal discharge regulations.

State Requirements


Thermal discharges are primarily related to increases in water temperature that may affect the aquatic life and other water uses. DENR's regulations for thermal discharges are published within the standards for classes of waters and specific standards for thermal changes are outlined based on the class of receiving water. See the state sections EFFLUENT LIMITATIONS and WASTEWATER VARIANCES for more information. This section outlines the standards for the most common of fresh and salt water bodies with more stringent standards applicable to sensitive waters and handled by the agency on a permit-specific basis.

Fresh Surface Class C Waters

15A ...

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State Requirements

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North Carolina Thermal Discharges Resources

Thermal Discharges Products

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