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Help the Pigeon River!! Public Hearing January 20, 2021 for NC#0000272

The purpose of the EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is to regulate the water quality in a manner consistent with the Clean Water Act (CWA). The federal government has given the states the ability to oversee the regulations. The state of North Carolina has announced intent to issue NPDES Wastewater Discharge Permit #NC0000272 with Proposed Removal of Color Variance for Blue Ridge Paper in Canton, NC.

The renewal of NPDES Permit #NC0000272 with the removal of the color variance must be denied and amended to better reflect the values of the CWA. This permit should be offering greater protection of water quality to show measured improvements in the wastewater pollution discharge.

There will be an online public hearing at 6pm on January 20, 2021. (Information on how to register and submit comments can be found below).

“Blue Ridge Paper Products Inc. has requested renewal of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit NC0000272 allowing discharge of industrial, stormwater, municipal and landfill leachate wastewaters to waters of the state. This fact sheet summarizes the rationale used to develop the limits and monitoring conditions for the draft permit. North Carolina Division of Water Resources (Division) also recommends renewal of the temperature variance and deletion of the color variance.”

Before you submit your comments, there's a few things you should be aware of.

  • Did you know that the permit allows Blue Ridge Paper to simply collect and monitor their own data such as conductivity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen?

  • Did you know that the draft permit allows for more toxic pollution to the Pigeon River?

In addition, Blue Ridge Paper submitted the latest Balanced and Indigenous Species Study on the Pigeon River in 2012.

  • Did you know that the regulations they adhere to for pollutants, discharge, and more, are from standards set primarily in the 1980's and 1990's?

  • Did you know that chloroform is dangerous?

  • Did you know that the effluent levels have not been lowered since the 2010 permit?

Please help us to save our beloved Pigeon River by demanding regulations and permits are consistent with the Clean Water Act, that monitoring and data collection be performed by an independent body from Blue Ridge Paper, and that the color variance continue to be required.

You can email or mail in comments until January 29, 2021 to the following:

(please be sure to include Blue Ridge Paper Products, NC #0000272 in the email subject line)

Wastewater Permitting, Attn: Blue Ridge Paper Products Permit

1617 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699

You can also contact your local elected officials to ask them to support the health and safety of Tennessee and North Carolina residents by getting involved in this issue as well.

The draft wastewater permit and all related documents are available online at:

You must pre-register and download a platform to participate in the public hearing on January, 20th.

Event Description


In the abundance of caution, and to address protective measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the hearing will be held online.

Date: January 20, 2021

Time: 6 pm

WebEx password: Nk2BCEzm7P2

WebEx phone number: 1-415-655-0003

WebEx access code: 171 787 6586 (Please see information below regarding registering for, joining, and commenting at the public hearing.)


To register for the hearing and provide your preference regarding speaking at the hearing, please visit:

Registration must be completed by 12:00 pm on January 20, 2021. If you have any problems registering online, please call 919-707-9011 or email peter.johnston@ncdenr.govby the registration deadline of 12:00 pm on January 20, 2021.


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