GenX

StarNews

Next weekend marks the third anniversary of the other big story in the region. PFAS, GenX...and Chemours. It was on June 7, 2017 when that story broke in the StarNews. And it hasn’t gone anywhere. Tests are still being done, lawsuits are flying, and legislators continue to wrestle with it.

WHQR/Nick Santillo

Because of COVID-19, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws, telling companies they won’t have to meet environmental standards during the outbreak. What does that mean for the Cape Fear Region?

NC State

Researchers at North Carolina State University have received a five-year, $7.4 million grant to establish a Center for Environmental and Human Health Effects of PFAS Compounds.  The grant guarantees studies in the Cape Fear region will continue.

Vince Winkel

PFAS contamination is about more than drinking water. At a special forum last week in Fayetteville, scientists discussed how the chemical compounds might be affecting food, livestock and wells in the area. 

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates


Change is coming to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Republicans Woody White and Patricia Kusek are not seeking re-election -- but there are nine other Republican primary candidates on the ballot, vying for three open seats. WHQR spoke to two of them.

John Wolfe

This week the actor and producer of ‘Dark Waters’ – Mark Ruffalo – was in Wilmington for a panel discussion on PFAS and water contamination and why he chose to make the film. 

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates

Three Republicans are competing for one open spot in the Brunswick County District 4 Board of Education Primary. The candidates vary -- in their experience and their top priorities. But they all have two concerns in common: overcrowded schools and teacher pay.

Vince Winkel

February 14 marks the first anniversary of the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of its plan to address toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. In the year since the 72-page plan was unveiled, the EPA has not yet set a legal limit for PFAS in drinking water, and has yet to clean up any existing PFAS contamination. But the EPA’s research continues. WHQR’s Vince Winkel reports from their National Research Lab in Durham.

A recently released study by scientists at Duke and N.C. State Universities evaluated in-home water filtration systems.  It was no surprise as to what technology worked best.

Nick Santillo


The state Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts passed a resolution earlier this month addressing concerns about GenX and PFAS chemicals. The resolution, brought by the New Hanover County Chapter of the organization, marks the first time the compounds have been formally addressed by Soil and Water Conservation at the state level.

EWG

Today the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, released a national report on PFAS contamination in water supplies. At the top of the list: Brunswick County, North Carolina. WHQR’s Vince Winkel spoke with one of the report’s authors. 

CFPUA

Almost two and a half years ago, the public learned that the Chemours Company was discharging a variety of toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River. Now on both sides of the river, utilities will need to spend tens of millions of dollars on water filtration systems. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has chosen granulated activated carbon. In Brunswick County, it’s reverse osmosis.  Both technologies come with a hefty price tag.


Rick Paxton is a newcomer to the Leland Town Council race. He’s an adjunct professor at Campbell University, a U.S. military veteran, and teaches concealed carry classes. He wants to see Leland’s economic growth benefit its citizens, and not impact their wallets. 


Wilmington City Council Candidate Mack Coyle is a newcomer to the race. Also new? His ideas. The small business owner installs mobile solar generators, and wants to convert all electricity in city buildings to solar and wind power, and all municipal vehicles to electric. But he has other priorities, too.

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.

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