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EPA Unveils Its Plans For Battling GenX, PFAS

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced plans to regulate a set of chemicals including GenX found in the drinking water system of the Cape Fear Region, and across much of the country. 

One of the goals: to set a maximum contaminant level for PFAS compounds.  

EPA officials also plan to designate PFAS as “hazardous substances” through one of its statutory programs.

And they say they’ll develop groundwater cleanup recommendations at contaminated sites and set toxicity values for GenX and other related chemicals.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“EPA will continue our enforcement actions. I want to stress continue our enforcement actions and we'll clarify our cleanup strategies. To date, EPA has issued direct enforcement orders or assistant state enforcement actions in eight separate instances and we have provided states and local governments technical assistance at dozens of other sites around the country. This work will continue.”

Wheeler says the EPA also plans to list the harmful chemicals as contaminants under its Superfund program, which would give the agency more authority to pursue polluters.

After the announcement, Clean Cape Fear, a local environmental group, criticized the effort.

They say "this plan doesn't do anything for the quarter of a million residents in Southeastern North Carolina who use the Lower Cape Fear River as their primary source of drinking water.”

For WHQR News, I’m Vince Winkel. 

Feb. 14, 2019 statement from Gov. Roy Cooper on EPA Action Plan:

“North Carolina needs strong leadership from the EPA on water quality and I am disappointed that the agency’s action plan does not commit to setting standards, lacks detail on what research is planned on specific compounds like GenX, and seems to ignore the urgency of the problem,” Gov. Cooper said. “Today’s announcement contradicts promises made in public meetings in North Carolina last summer to work swiftly to set standards and recommendations for these compounds. People deserve to have confidence in the water they drink, and this weak action by the EPA negatively impacts state efforts to protect water quality and public health.”

Read the EPA PFAS Action Plan