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GenX: More Questions Regarding Chemours Waste Compounds From Europe

Vince Winkel
Tanks at the Fayetteville Works Facility site along the Cape Fear River.

The Fayetteville Works plant has been importing GenX waste from a Chemours plant in the Netherlands for at least five years. We learned that last Friday. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality found out about it 13 months ago. That’s because it’s the Environmental Protection Agency that regulates the import and export of hazardous waste.  

Most people in the Cape Fear region knew nothing about Chemours’ waste from Europe being shipping to Fayetteville until last Friday.

“I found out about it the same time you did.”

Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette.

He says regardless of what is being shipped from the Netherlands to the Fayetteville Works Facility, any emissions here would be covered by the Consent Order signed by Chemours, the Department of Environmental Quality, and Cape Fear River Watch.

“Reducing discharge at 92 percent already and by an additional, you know, about 99.9 percent by the end of 2019 that would apply whether these compounds are coming in from the Netherlands, the Netherlands or not. I think we need to understand whether or not and how much, compounds are coming in from other places and we need to understand, how that waste is being handled”

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority officials tell WHQR they are looking into any potential impacts to the Cape Fear River and air emissions from these new revelations.

In an email to WHQR, Chemours stated that “It’s also important to note that fewer emissions result from recycling material than from making new material.”

For WHQR News, I’m Vince Winkel.

Jan. 28 Statement to WHQR From CFPUA:

Our regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality have outlined a number of important questions and concerns regarding the import and reclamation process and any potential impacts on Chemours’ discharges to the Cape Fear River and air emissions. Just like others in the community, we’re watching these developments with substantial interest.”

Jan. 25 Statement to WHQR From Chemours: 

“Chemours has historically recycled GenX materials from our Dordrecht facility at our Fayetteville Works plant, as well as at a contractor site in Europe, in order to reduce the quantity that is emitted or becomes waste. This is material that was originally created at the Fayetteville site for use in our Dordrecht production processes.

The recent bankruptcy of our European recycling contractor requires us to take responsible actions to ensure we continue to recycle the vast majority of the GenX. The re-importation of material from Dordrecht for responsible recycle is not something new. Such requests have previously been made to and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency prior to the re- importation of this material.

The current request for re-importation made to the Environmental Protection Agency allows the transport of materials that had already reached our European contractor for recycle prior to their bankruptcy, to our Fayetteville location for responsible recycling.

If approved by EPA, any air emissions from the recycling process would be directed to the granular activated carbon beds, and the second stage scrubber that are installed at our Fayetteville Works site. They have proven highly effective at significantly reducing emissions. It’s also important to note that fewer emissions result from recycling material than from making new material.”