Local officials applaud NCDEQ for pushing back on Chemours' testing proposal
This week, local officials expressed their appreciation to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for answering with stricter requirements in response to Chemours’ proposed interim sampling and drinking water plan for the City of Wilmington.
In February, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners and Public Health Director David Howard, sent letters to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Secretary Elizabeth Biser, in response to the proposed plan sent by Chemours on February 1.
The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners felt the plan was not in the best interest of the residents, and requested that NCDEQ further review the plan and offer a better alternative to Chemours. At that time, NCDEQ had not accepted the proposed plan.
Related: New Hanover County officials tell DEQ that Chemours' well-testing plan is 'grossly inadequate'
Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman said, NCDEQ took their letters into consideration to protect their residents.
“We appreciate NCDEQ’s response back to Chemours today and that they listened to our concerns here in New Hanover County,” she said.
Cape Fear Public Authority Utility Authority (CFPUA) Board Chairman Wesley P. Corder also responded to the February 1 proposal sent by Chemours.
“The proposal Chemours offered on February 1 to assess and remedy its PFAS contamination of New Hanover County’s groundwater was wholly inadequate. We appreciate the diligence of the leadership and staff of New Hanover County and NCDEQ in insisting that Chemours start owning up to its responsibilities to the residents of New Hanover County," Corder said.
NCDEQ has requested Chemours to revise seven areas in the interim sampling and drinking water within 30 days. Olson-Boseman also said the revisions are to ensure the residents are fully protected.
“The revisions they are requiring for Chemours’ sampling plan in New Hanover County will help ensure our residents receive similar protections as those close to the plant who are already under the consent order...It’s what our community deserves, so this is a positive step forward," she said.
Here are the following areas NCDEQ is requesting for revision:
- Expanding eligibility criteria of private wells to be sampled.
- Starting sampling within 45 days.
- Directly contacting eligible private well owners.
- Using a data-driven approach to broaden private well sampling, not limited to 200 per county and not limited to residents who have requested sampling.
- Including other property types for sampling where a private well is used as the primary source of drinking water, including schools, day care centers, churches, mobile home parks and others.
- Providing bottled water to impacted residents within three days of receipt of sampling results and providing replacement drinking water supplies as required in Paragraphs 19 and 20 of the Consent Order.
- Describing a proposed step-out or other approach to drinking water sampling based on the received results.