Since the 1980s, Oxford, located in Granville County, has had trouble managing a compliant wastewater treatment facility. In 2000, the city was fined $100,000, the largest water quality fine in North Carolina to date, and required to enter into a consent judgment order to bring the facility back into compliance, which should have occurred by April 2002. Since 2001, the plant has violated its discharge permit more than seventy times. The Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and Clean Water for North Carolina, representing downstream residents, challenged a state issued Special Order of Consent (SOC) Oxford's wastewater treatment plant. This was the first appeal ever of this kind in the state. The two groups argued that the SOC failed to meet North Carolina's own regulations for dealing with chronic polluters.