(a) When necessary for enforcement of this Part, and when authorized by rules of the Commission, employees of the Commission may inspect any property, public or private, to investigate:
(1) The condition, withdrawal or use of any waters;
(2) Water sources; or
(3) The installation or operation of any well or surface water withdrawal or use facility.
(b) The Commission's rules must state appropriate standards for determining when property may be inspected under subsection (a).
(c) Entry to inspect property may be made without the possessor's consent only if the employee seeking to inspect has a valid administrative inspection warrant issued pursuant to G.S. 15-27.2.
(d) The Commission may also require the owner or possessor of any property to file written statements or submit reports under oath concerning the installation or operation of any well or surface water withdrawal or use facility.
(e) The Commission shall accompany any request or demand for information under this section with a notice that any trade secrets or confidential information concerning business activities is entitled to confidentiality as provided in this subsection. Upon a contention by any person that records, reports or information or any particular part thereof to which the Commission has access under this section, if made public would divulge methods or processes entitled to protection as trade secrets or would divulge confidential information concerning business activities, the Commission shall consider the material referred to as confidential, except that it may be made available in a separate file marked "Confidential Business Information" to employees of the department concerned with carrying out the provisions of this Part for that purpose only. The disclosure or use of such information in any administrative or judicial proceeding shall be governed by the rules of evidence, but the affected business shall be notified by the Commission at least seven days prior to any such proposed disclosure or use of information, and the Commission will not oppose a motion by any affected business to intervene as a party to the judicial or administrative proceeding. (1967, c. 933, s. 9; 1973, c. 1262, s. 23; 1981, c. 585, s. 12; 1987, c. 827, ss. 154, 172.)