Officials from Chemours, the company that produces GenX, were in Wilmington Thursday for a 90-minute meeting with city, county and state officials. One thing that was exposed was that since 1980, Chemours had a vinyl ether process operating at its Fayetteville Works site up the Cape Fear River from Wilmington. It is a process that produces GenX as a byproduct. After the closed door meeting, local officials met with the media, but Chemours did not.
Demonstrators demanding clean water stood outside the County Government Center building today, as officials met behind closed doors… doors guarded by a pair of Sheriff’s Deputies.
Inside, representatives of the city, three counties, the state health department, and the department of environmental quality grilled Chemours representatives for answers about GenX and just how much is in the river.
After the meeting everyone except Chemours gathered for a press conference. New Hanover County Commissioner Chair Woody White said that Chemours announced it will continue to discharge GenX, and is permitted to do so. He added that Chemours has more recent test results of GenX and the water, which will be reviewed by the state.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo was also in the meeting today.
“Again I am going to reiterate what the chairman has said. We’re asking for a 100 % elimination of GenX from the Cape Fear River. The company has indicated they are going to try everything in their power to do that. In the meantime I would ask the state, the DEQ, the EPA, to suspend that operation until we have some evidence from the company that says that.”
Chemours also said that they believe abatement technology that has been put in place will show there have been reductions in the Cape Fear River. Chemours agreed to pay for new water testing of the river, expected to start within a few days.