Update: Petitioners demand DEQ bring public hearings on Chemours permit to the Cape Fear Region
The permit would allow Chemours to discharge PFAS-contaminated groundwater into the river after removing 99% of the contaminants.
Update Friday 9:30 a.m. — After publication, the DEQ responded to a request for comment with a brief statement, which is included in the article below.
More than a thousand people have signed a petition demanding public hearings related to Chemours.
Clean Cape Fear (CCF) drew up the petition after news broke that Chemours is seeking a new water discharge permit at its Fayetteville Works plant.
The petition demands public hearings before the Chemours permit moves ahead, as members of the public don’t fully understand the purpose of the discharge permit, according to CCF.
The petition reads, in part, "we believe Chemours should never be allowed to release any levels of PFAS into our air, soil, water, or food supply. Full stop. Chemours sent NCDEQ preliminary data showing it has the technical capabilities to remove all PFAS from its groundwater to levels of non detect. NCDEQ should use this science and demand Chemours control all releases."
DEQ officials told regional politicians and reporters last month that the permit will involve building an underground wall to capture existing contaminated groundwater which is currently seeping into the river unfiltered.
The water will then be filtered for PFAS, or forever chemicals, and released once 99% of the PFAS is removed. But, advocacy organizations like Clean Cape Fear say 99% is not enough, and that the water discharges still include dangerously high levels of the toxic chemicals.
WHQR reached out to DEQ for comment but did not receive a response before press time.
Editor's note: On Friday morning, the DEQ responded with the following statement," The public comment period is an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the draft permit as well as make requests for a public hearing. The division will consider those requests and comments before making decisions on the next steps."