ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County officials are testing six of the county’s 10 active wells to determine if they are contaminated with GenX.
“We’re doing this for peace of mind and satisfaction,” said Kip McClary, Bladen County’s general services manager. “We’ve been in communication with (the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality) since this started to ensure we’re keeping abreast of what is taking place and that we’re taking the most prudent action for our system.”
In addition to being prudent, the department is being scopious in its decisions. Wells tested include Tobermory, Dublin, Tar Heel, Mt. Horeb, White Oak, and White Lake. Since GenX was found in the Cape Fear River, samples were also pulled directly from pipes on both sides of the river for testing.
The county, after inquiring from the state about a list of recommended or approved laboratories, sent the samples to Eurofins Scientific Laboratories in Raleigh and is expecting results “any day,” McClary said Thursday.
Chemours is footing the bill for two of the well tests, and the county is paying for the remainder.
McClary said the county already has a plan in place if the results come back showing levels above the allowable level. The process would begin with notifying the state and working toward filtration or replacement wells. Other steps would also be taken concurrently.
“Of course, the tests will dictate the mode of action we would take,” he commented, “but if we were to receive a report that the concentrations were above the level of concern, then we would work on a way to take the wells offline immediately, stop the source, and revert to some of the other wells to supply the system.
“That’s one advantage to being on a multilevel system — having the ability to transfer the demand to other wells.”
The county currently manages the wells for Tar Heel, the municipality most closely located to the Chemours plant.
On Wednesday, state officials directed Chemours to provide bottled water to an additional eight well owners near Chemours, bringing the total number of wells found contaminated to 19. All 19 are based on preliminary tests showing levels above the provisional health limit of 140 parts per trillion.
To aid local residents in understanding the issues related to GenX, the Department of Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, will be holding another information session. The public is invited to the gymnasium of Gray’s Creek Elementary School on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m, when state officials will be on hand to answer questions.
Both Chemours and DEQ are involved in testing residential wells. Chemours is testing for GenX, and the state is testing for GenX and two other flourinated compounds, PFOA and PFOs. Though 19 wells have been found with GenX, none of the test results have yet been validated.
More information about the state’s ongoing testing and investigation of fluorinated compounds can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.