The Chemours Company might be buying water for families in perpetuity. That’s according to one official from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. But not everyone is on board with the proposed consent order agreed to by DEQ, Chemours and Cape Fear River Watch.
The 39-page proposal calls for Chemours to provide reverse-osmosis systems to people on private wells around the Fayetteville Works plant whose drinking water has a combined 70 parts per trillion of chemicals from the family that includes GenX. DEQ Assistant Secretary Sheila Holman says there’s no limit on the amount of money Chemours will have to spend.
The order also would require Chemours to reduce GenX air emissions, provide replacement drinking water and pay a civil penalty to DEQ. She says the order protects the health of residents.
“The way that the order is structured, it will mean that no one in the community will be drinking water with measurable PFAS concentrations above 10 parts per trillion.”
By community, Holman is referring to those with wells near the Chemours facility, not those down river in Wilmington. And that’s a concern. Jim Flechtner is Executive Director of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
“A lot of attention is given and rightly so to people who live right near the plant and that makes a lot of sense. But it also makes a lot of sense to be mindful of the hundreds of thousands of drinking water customers that are downstream in our area and we just don't see a lot of attention, in the draft consent order for our region.”
He adds that there are still elevated levels of contaminants in the river, and the draft consent order doesn’t address that.
Public comment on the proposed order will be accepted through December 21. For WHQR News, I’m Vince Winkel
Comments to DEQ on the proposed order will be accepted until Dec. 21. Comments can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Assistant Secretary’s office, RE: Chemours Public Comments 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601.
A copy of the proposed order is available on DEQ’s website at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/GenX/Consent-order-11212018.pdf.
More information about the state’s investigation can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.