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Bi-partisan bill aims to hold PFAS polluters financially responsible for cleanup, filtration

House Bill 1095.JPG
Ben Schachtman
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A press conference followed by a committee meeting was held Thursday morning to discuss House Bill 1095. The bill’s ultimate goal is to require polluters, not rate-payers, to shoulder the financial burden of cleaning up PFAS contaminants from drinking water.

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination of the Cape Fear River has been affecting New Hanover County residents for decades. Recently, Cape Fear Public Utility rates have gone up, in part to pay for new filtration efforts to keep the chemicals out of people’s drinking water.

House Bill 1095 was created by New Hanover County State Representative Ted Davis Jr. to hold polluters accountable, and to take the financial burden off of residents.

“They should not have to pay for the treatment of their water to make it safe to drink when there is a known responsible party for causing that PFAS contamination," Davis said.

Today’s committee meeting explained further the contents of the bill, and the rationale behind them.

The bill would not only ask polluters to pay for the cleanup of drinking water, but also set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). Currently, there is no federal maximum on the amount of PFAS allowed in drinking water.

The bill would also provide $2 million to the Department of Environmental Quality to implement the requirements, and another $2 million in nonrecurring funds to be allocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Collaboratory ( also known as just, the Collaboratory). The Collaboratory will provide research on PFAS and make recommendations for MCLs.

The bill so far has bipartisan support in the House, Wilmington-area representatives Davis, a Republican, and Deb Butler, a Democrat.

You can find the current version of House Bill 1095, and track its progress through the General Assembly, here.