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Cape Fear River Watch joins DEQ in fighting Chemours' suit against stricter PFAS limits

Chemours is challenging stricter limits on PFAS contamination from the Department of Environmental Quality.

Cape Fear River Watch is jumping into a new legal battle between Chemours and the DEQ over a state permit that will determine how much PFAS will keep getting into the Cape Fear River.

The Department of Environmental Quality authorized a groundwater treatment system permit in September for Chemours to treat water at its Fayetteville Works site to reduce PFAS contamination.

The permit accounted for public feedback that demanded more strict filtration requirements for the groundwater Chemours releases into the Cape Fear River.

Chemours sued DEQ over the permit, claiming it’s not feasible for the company to bring their levels of PFAS contamination below the new limit of 99.9% reduction.

Geoff Gisler is an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is representing Cape Fear River Watch in this case. He said they are disputing Chemours’ claim that those levels are unreasonable.

“We believe that we'll be able to show as the case goes forward, that technology is good enough to meet these limits, it just has to be used," Gisler said.

He said that while the DEQ is fighting in court to keep this permit, they have to weigh different interests as a state regulatory agency. That’s why Cape Fear River Watch is jumping in: to represent the interests of the river, and those who live off it.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.