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DEQ Sends Revised Chemours Consent Order To Court

On Thursday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality filed a Revised Consent Order in Bladen County Superior Court. DEQ has asked the court to enter the order, initially filed in November, to hold the Chemours Company accountable for PFAS contamination, including GenX, in the Cape Fear Region. 

The revised order will require Chemours to address all sources of PFAS at the facility to prevent further impacts to air, soil, groundwater and surface waters.

It will be implemented under the supervision of DEQ, Bladen County Superior Court, and Cape Fear River Watch.

The more stringent revisions also provide downstream public utilities with an accelerated plan to reduce PFAS contamination in the Cape Fear River. Chemours must now submit an analysis of PFAS contamination in river sediment and report air emissions of GenX compounds each month.

“This order holds the polluter accountable.”

DEQ Secretary Michael Regan.

“Our goal is to prevent pollution from entering the river in the first place and stop pollution at the source instead of placing the burden on our communities and our citizens. This order, it places the responsibility squarely where it should be with the company that caused this mess in the first place.”

A Chemours spokesperson says the company “believes the Proposed Consent Order will address the concerns raised during the public comment period and intends to show our commitment through actions, not just words. We will continue to demonstrate our progress in a transparent way as we move forward.”  The order does not prevent other parties from taking action against Chemours.

For WHQR News, I’m Vince Winkel.

Scroll through images to read more about the revisions to the consent order. 

Feb. 20, 2019 Chemours response to revised consent order:

“In May 2018, Chemours announced a goal of decreasing its emissions of GenX and other PFAS at Fayetteville Works by 99% or greater by the end of 2019.  We believe the proposed Consent Order is a complement to that commitment—providing a regulatory framework, oversight, and continued transparency of progress on our commitments.

Chemours has continued to adhere to the emissions control measures of the proposed Consent Order throughout the public comment period and as DEQ has been considering the comments.  In those three months, we have completed the installation of a carbon adsorption system to reduce air emissions of GenX compounds and other PFAS from the Vinyl Ether North unit at the Fayetteville Works site.  The Consent Order required installation by the end of December 2018 and control efficiency of at least 93% by March 31, 2019.  System installation was completed before the end of December, has been operational since and has been shown to have an efficiency of 93.9%.

DEQ’s decision to sign and seek court approval of the proposed Consent Order is a positive step for all stakeholders. It provides the framework for implementingspecialized state-of-the-art emission control technology that will make the Fayetteville plant a best-in-class chemical manufacturing facility for air and wastewater emission control. It also provides for implementation of robust remediation programs and the provision of alternative drinking water supplies for a large number of homeowners with private wells, most of whom have existing water supplies that do not exceed any health based advisory.

We are pleased that the Cape Fear River Watch, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, remains a party to this agreement and we are looking forward to working with them and DEQ collaboratively throughout the implementation of the Consent Order, when approved.

While the core commitments of the Consent Order remain the same as in the version previously made public, the order submitted for court approval includes many enhancements and clarifications that reflect DEQ’s consideration of the public comments it received.  The changes require new or enhanced commitments by Chemours and reflect progress already achieved.

Examples of the modifications include:

  • New commitments by Chemours to conduct studies to characterize PFAS emissions from our site in downstream water intakes and characterize PFAS emissions in sediments in the Cape Fear River
  • An expanded commitment by Chemours to take expeditious steps by next year to reduce PFAS loadings from our site to the River
  • Enhanced commitments by Chemours related to alternative water supplies

Chemours believes the Proposed Consent Order will address the concerns raised during the public comment period and intends to show our commitment through actions, not just words.  We will continue to demonstrate our progress in a transparent way as we move forward.”