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More PFAS Well Testing Coming In New Hanover County

CFPUA map showing tested wells. Those in red showed PFAS detection.

This week in Washington, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce held hearings on 13 PFAS bills introduced in Congress. PFAS are toxic fluorinated chemicals, found in the Cape Fear River and across much of the country. The chemicals are linked to cancers and immune problems, according to the EPA. Now, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has detected these chemicals in New Hanover County well water.

“So this map shows a number of wells that CFPUA uses…” 

Vaughn Hagerty is the Public Information Officer for CFPUA. The wells he’s talking about monitor groundwater for the utility.  Up until now, officials thought GenX and PFAS pollution was simply a result of the Chemours Company in Fayetteville dumping their wastewater into the Cape Fear River. 

Hagerty says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is stepping in to help with more testing.

“That sort of look is beyond the scope of Cape Fear Public Utility Authorities mission and way beyond our resources. So that's why we asked DEQ to come in and take a look. In the meantime, starting last week, we started testing the rest of our Richardson Wells.”

Hagerty says it’s important for consumers to realize the test results came from raw, untreated water. What’s coming out of the tap has been through the Richardson treatment plant and no PFAS has been detected in the finished water.

Where the PFAS comes from remains a question. Groundwater moves slowly. They hope, says Hagerty, with another round of testing, the source of this recently discovered contamination can be confirmed.

Vince Winkel, WHQR News.