GenX

On Thursday in Washington D.C., the House of Representatives held a hearing on perfluorinated chemicals in the environment. GenX is such a chemical. One of the speakers was Emily Donovan of Brunswick County. 

Emily Donovan, the co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, is en route to Washington DC. A House subcommittee invited her speak during a hearing looking into PFAS and GenX contamination in the water supply.  The issue is now receiving more national attention.

EWG

A U.S. Senator from Michigan, has introduced bipartisan legislation that could help with the investigation and clean-up of the chemical compounds currently in the Cape Fear River. It’s called the PFAS Detection Act.   

Vince Winkel

Tuesday in Fayetteville, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold an all-day series of meetings. This is in response to North Carolina residents having been exposed to chemicals like GenX in the Cape Fear River, and toxic firefighting foam on military bases around the State.

Vince Winkel

On Wednesday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s public comment period on a proposed court order against Chemours will end. That order would require the company to implement measures to eliminate or reduce air emissions and water impacts caused by GenX and related compounds from their Fayetteville facility. 

There is more news to report on the GenX front. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has released a draft study on the class of chemicals called PFOA and PFAS. It says the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended levels for these compounds in the water is too high. 

Vince Winkel

Chemours, the company responsible for the unregulated, possibly dangerous, chemical compounds in this region’s water supply, held a town hall meeting for the first time.  Tuesday night in St. Pauls, near the company’s Fayetteville facility, concerned citizens gathered to hear about plans for how the chemical giant plans to clean up its operation.  

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Vince Winkel

New Jersey decided late last year on a regulatory first:  to establish stringent standards for two types of perfluorochemicals in their environment.  According to a November press release, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is the first to set maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluorononanoic acid, or PFNA.  GenX is one of more than a dozen similar compounds found in the Cape Fear River, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of southeastern North Carolina residents. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Chemours, the company that had been discharging GenX and other compounds into the Cape Fear River, is starting to speak. This week, WHQR’s Vince Winkel visited the Chemours facility and sat down with the Fayetteville Works Site plant manager – where he learned about Chemours’ new plan to open up to the community. 

Chemours

On Tuesday, Chemours announced that carbon adsorption bed technology has been installed at two locations on its Fayetteville Works plant on the Cape Fear River. This is supposed to reduce the emissions of GenX into the air immediately.

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center – or SELC -- says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality should shut down Chemours, and they should do it now. On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the SELC recently told DEQ they have the power and legal authority to take that step. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The first phase of a North Carolina State University water study on GenX is complete. Nearly every home whose tap water researchers tested last fall showed levels of GenX, and they found other perfluorinated chemicals as well. Meanwhile an environmental group in Washington has released a new map to learn more about bad drinking water across the country. 

Vince Winkel

The first results from North Carolina State University’s testing of tap water in the region have been released. The purpose of the study:  to assess current exposure to GenX and related chemicals in people living in the Lower Cape Fear River Basin. Tuesday night researchers explained what was found in samples from 198 homes of New Hanover County residents.

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has submitted its final report to the Environmental Review Commission, per the requirements of House Bill 56. That legislation appropriated funds to CFPUA and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to study which treatment techniques would remove GenX and other contaminants from the public water supply. 

The Wilmington City Council is throwing its support behind Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s request to stop production at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant.  The resolution, directed to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, asks regulators to require the company to stop all operations that produce perfluorinated compounds like GenX.  The resolution is not binding, but does send a message.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has slapped a Notice of Violation on Chemours in Fayetteville. The DEQ notice cites the company’s failure to follow through on directives issued two months ago, in and around the facility. 

Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Residents who live near Chemours’ Bladen County plant are angry.  North Carolina state officials held their fourth community meeting last week at Bladen Community College in Dublin.  More than 150 people showed up.   

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is not happy with Chemours. Utility officials said this week they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site. That’s because they just learned regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion…  far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.  

Cape Fear Public Utility officials say they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site.  

In a statement issued early Wednesday evening, officials say North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality informed CFPUA that as late as December, regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion.  That’s far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.

1,4- Dioxane is in the Cape Fear River and in the drinking water supply. It’s also classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure. As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at 1,4-Dioxane in this edition of What’s in the Water? 

It’s well documented that there are a lot more questionable compounds in the Cape Fear River than GenX.  Two of those as-yet-unregulated compounds:  Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.  As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at these byproducts in this edition of What’s in the Water?

House Bill 189 made it through the House late Wednesday, freeing up funds focused on the GenX and emerging contaminants problem. It now goes to the Senate, where its future is not so bright.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

North Carolina’s House unanimously passed House Bill 189 late Wednesday.  The bill, titled “Short-Term Response to Emerging Contaminants”, would free up funds to support research and look for solutions to the GenX problem. It now goes to the Senate. 

A North Carolina state committee plans to address the growing threat of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear River through legislation on Wednesday.  The legislation does not include any additional funding, and that isn’t sitting well with the environmental community.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

GenX is in the local drinking water supply – albeit at significantly lower levels than six months ago.  What kind of impact that has had or could have or will have on the people who drink the local water is still unclear. 

StarNews

North Carolina State officials have ordered Chemours to provide bottled water to more well owners near the company’s Fayetteville Works facility. The move comes after another round of testing shows higher levels of GenX in the wells. 

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