GenX

Vince Winkel

Today the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority released water quality results showing an increase in PFAS compounds in the Cape Fear River.  It's the highest concentration of total PFAS measured since last September.

Vince Winkel

Residents in the Cape Fear region have been exposed to a lot of science in the past two years – as officials and citizens try to understand more about PFAS, GenX, Chemours and what else is in the water. In part 2 of this week’s series, WHQR’s Vince Winkel takes a look … at science.

StarNews

GenX, PFAS and Chemours are part of the lexicon in the Cape Fear region. It’s been that way for two years, since the general public first heard about chemicals in the area’s drinking water supply. In part one of our series, WHQR takes a look at how it started, and where we are today. 

CFPUA

This week in Washington, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce held hearings on 13 PFAS bills introduced in Congress. PFAS are toxic fluorinated chemicals, found in the Cape Fear River and across much of the country. The chemicals are linked to cancers and immune problems, according to the EPA. Now, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has detected these chemicals in New Hanover County well water.

National Park Service

A bill filed this week in the North Carolina legislature could impact the water quality of the Cape Fear River. House Bill 560 would ban PFAS and other perfluorinated compounds from the firefighting foams used near airports and in industrial areas around the state. It has co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle. 

NC DEQ

On Thursday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality filed a Revised Consent Order in Bladen County Superior Court. DEQ has asked the court to enter the order, initially filed in November, to hold the Chemours Company accountable for PFAS contamination, including GenX, in the Cape Fear Region. 

US EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced plans to regulate a set of chemicals including GenX found in the drinking water system of the Cape Fear Region, and across much of the country. 

Vince Winkel

The Fayetteville Works plant has been importing GenX waste from a Chemours plant in the Netherlands for at least five years. We learned that last Friday. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality found out about it 13 months ago. That’s because it’s the Environmental Protection Agency that regulates the import and export of hazardous waste.  

Chemours NL

Chemours in Fayetteville is importing GenX compounds from its facility near Rotterdam in the Netherlands for recycling. And apparently, it’s been going on for several years. In an email to WHQR Friday, the company stated that “Chemours has historically recycled GenX materials from our Dordrecht facility at our Fayetteville Works plant, as well as at a contractor site in Europe, in order to reduce the quantity that is emitted or becomes waste.”

North Carolina’s new legislative session convenes next week, and the Cape Fear Region has priorities. This week on CoastLine, four people who represent the Cape Fear Region talked about their priorities. WHQR  has a closer look at the discussion with Republicans Ted Davis and Holly Grange, and Democrats Deb Butler and Harper Peterson.

Vince Winkel

UPDATE: Council is now expected to vote on the resolution at the Jan. 22 meeting. The Wilmington City Council is expected to take up the Chemours – Department of Environmental Quality consent order at their meeting this week.  The agreement was announced just before Thanksgiving.  It requires Chemours to pay a $12 million dollar fine and $1 million in fees to cover investigative costs for DEQ.  Opposition to the plan is growing.   

New Hanover County

New Hanover County Commissioners passed a unanimous Consent Order Resolution – as a companion of the original Consent Order agreement between Chemours and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

Vince Winkel

Cape Fear River Watch and an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center this week addressed their decision to join a proposed consent order between Chemours and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. They answered questions from citizens during a meeting Wednesday at UNCW’s Lumina Theater.  

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority officials say they welcome the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Draft Toxicity Assessment for GenX and PFBS in the Cape Fear River. But, they also say the EPA’s work doesn’t go far enough.

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. 

There are several major developments this month involving the Chemours Company, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a consent order that is awaiting approval by a Bladen County Court.

This week participants in a GenX exposure study began receiving their test results. Some 345 New Hanover County residents took part in the study, giving blood, urine, and tap water samples late last year.  The  North Carolina State researchers behind the study are in Wilmington this week to explain the results.

Vince Winkel

On Wednesday morning, Oct. 10, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Board of Directors will meet. They will likely decide whether to go forward with a $46 million dollar expansion. It would include new filtration systems to eliminate GenX and other perfluorinated compounds from the drinking water. 

On Thursday in Washington D.C., the House of Representatives held a hearing on perfluorinated chemicals in the environment. GenX is such a chemical. One of the speakers was Emily Donovan of Brunswick County. 

Emily Donovan, the co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, is en route to Washington DC. A House subcommittee invited her speak during a hearing looking into PFAS and GenX contamination in the water supply.  The issue is now receiving more national attention.

EWG

A U.S. Senator from Michigan, has introduced bipartisan legislation that could help with the investigation and clean-up of the chemical compounds currently in the Cape Fear River. It’s called the PFAS Detection Act.   

Vince Winkel

Tuesday in Fayetteville, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold an all-day series of meetings. This is in response to North Carolina residents having been exposed to chemicals like GenX in the Cape Fear River, and toxic firefighting foam on military bases around the State.

Vince Winkel

On Wednesday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s public comment period on a proposed court order against Chemours will end. That order would require the company to implement measures to eliminate or reduce air emissions and water impacts caused by GenX and related compounds from their Fayetteville facility. 

There is more news to report on the GenX front. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has released a draft study on the class of chemicals called PFOA and PFAS. It says the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended levels for these compounds in the water is too high. 

Vince Winkel

Chemours, the company responsible for the unregulated, possibly dangerous, chemical compounds in this region’s water supply, held a town hall meeting for the first time.  Tuesday night in St. Pauls, near the company’s Fayetteville facility, concerned citizens gathered to hear about plans for how the chemical giant plans to clean up its operation.  

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Vince Winkel

New Jersey decided late last year on a regulatory first:  to establish stringent standards for two types of perfluorochemicals in their environment.  According to a November press release, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is the first to set maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluorononanoic acid, or PFNA.  GenX is one of more than a dozen similar compounds found in the Cape Fear River, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of southeastern North Carolina residents. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Chemours, the company that had been discharging GenX and other compounds into the Cape Fear River, is starting to speak. This week, WHQR’s Vince Winkel visited the Chemours facility and sat down with the Fayetteville Works Site plant manager – where he learned about Chemours’ new plan to open up to the community. 

Chemours

On Tuesday, Chemours announced that carbon adsorption bed technology has been installed at two locations on its Fayetteville Works plant on the Cape Fear River. This is supposed to reduce the emissions of GenX into the air immediately.

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

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