About the Lower Neuse Basin Association and Neuse River Compliance Association

The Lower Neuse Basin Association

The Lower Neuse Basin Association (LNBA) was formed as an information sharing and monitoring organization in 1994. To qualify to be a member you must hold an NPDES permit with a permitted flow equal to greater than 1.0 mgd or a governmental entity below Falls Lake Dam. There are currently 18 members, both public and private, in the association. The association is non-partisan, not for profit organization, (501(c)(3) non-profit corporation).  

The LNBA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality as the first coalition monitoring group that year. Today, the LNBA monitors a total of 48 sites in the Neuse Basin as part of its MOA, provides  

funding to support the ModMon sampling program in the Neuse Estuary, supports the FerryMon sampling program in lower portions of the Neuse River near the confluence of the Pamilco Sound, and provides assistance to the FluorMod research program that has the potential of identifying organic nitrogen by its source.

The LNBA also provides technical resources to its members in providing annual operator training and optimization wastewater treatment plants. 

Shortly after the formation of the LNBA the Neuse Nutrient Strategy (1997) was implemented to reduce the total nitrogen load received in the Neuse Estuary. The members began work to reduce total nitrogen discharges through facility improvements and optimization projects. In 1995 the members of the LNBA delivered 1,784,000 lbs. of total nitrogen to the Neuse Estuary. By 2002 the total nitrogen delivery was reduced to 798,000 lbs., a reduction in load of 55%.  

Today, the monitoring work continues to provide important data on the health of the river and estuary. In 1995 the population of the Neuse Basin was approximately 1,100,000 people. In 2010 the population had grown to 1,700,000 people, an increase greater than 50%, creating additional demands on the Neuse River Basin.

The LNBA bylaws are attached below.

LNBA Members

Currently the 18 member organizations in the LNBA serve over 750,000 people, or 70% of the population of the Lower Neuse watershed.

The Neuse River Compliance Association

With the adoption of the Neuse Nutrient Strategy (1997, also known as Neuse Rules) members of the LNBA were compelled to establish a nutrient (nitrogen) trading group in order to meet the total nitrogen limits for point source dischargers. The Neuse Rules established a Total Mass Daily Load (TMDL) for all sources of nitrogen in the basin. The TMDL load for all point source dischargers in the basin was 1,640,000 lbs. (delivery to the Neuse Estuary).  The LNBA was restricted geographically from being that trading group because the new organization needed to provide an opportunity to include all regulated point source dischargers in the basin desiring membership in the trading association.  

An executive committee of the LNBA put together the frame work for this trading group and the Neuse River Compliance Association (NRCA) was founded and incorporated in 2002. The NRCA is a non-partisan, not for profit organization, (501(c)(3) non- profit corporation). 

Invitations were extended to all NPDES Permit Holders in the Neuse Basin with a permitted capacity greater than 0.5 mgd and required to meet a total nitrogen allocation in their permit. Most members of the LNBA joined the NRCA with a few additional members. Those permit holders with a permitted flow less than 0.5 mgd were not required to control their total nitrogen discharges. Those meeting these requirements became co-permittee members of the NRCA. A co-permittee member has voting rights in the NRCA. The NRCA has a membership category for those who would like to join but do not meet the above requirements, known as “Monitoring member”, with no voting rights.  

In 2002 the NRCA applied for and received an NPDES Permit # NC000001 that became effective January 01, 2003. The permit established the NRCA’s total nitrogen allocation (TN) as the sum of all of its members’ nitrogen allocations. The total nitrogen allocation for the NRCA for 2012 is 1,184,165 lbs. (or 72% of TMDL allocation) and the members’ delivery of TN to the estuary for 2011 was 519,199 lbs.

The NRCA has been the primary vehicle for the point source achievement and nitrogen reductions through its innovative approach allowing the members reduce nitrogen through incentives and trading in the organization. Today the investment in facility improvements has exceeded $300,000,000 and the work has not been completed. Member facilities are achieving effluent nitrogen concentrations that are below the standard best available technology of 3.0 mg/L, continued investments in wastewater reuse facilities that distributed a daily annual average of 1.717 mgd in 2011, and members achieved a total nitrogen concentration delivery to the Neuse Estuary of 1.9 mg/L in 2011.

The NRCA Bylaws are attached below.

NRCA Members

Additional Resources

The N.C. Environmental Education site has an a good introduction to the Neuse River Basin.

The N.C. Division of Water Quality site has details about the Neuse Nutrient Strategy.