RALEIGH — Things aren’t getting any better for Chemours.
This past week, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality announced it will take additional action against the Fayetteville Works facility for an increase in the concentration of GenX in the wastewater discharge.
Preliminary results from the Environmental Protection Agency showing elevated concentrations of GenX at Chemours’ primary wastewater discharge outfall prompted DEQ to question Chemours officials. The company told DEQ a spill had occurred Oct. 6 involving dimer acid flouride, a precursor to GenX, during planned maintenance at the facility. The result was GenX levels 26 times higher than the state’s health goal.
“We are determining all appropriate enforcement actions based on violations that have been committed, and we will continue to investigate and hold the company accountable,” said Sheila Holman, assistant secretary for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.
The move comes just days after Bladen County leaders, along with those from Cumberland County, met with Chemours representatives in a closed meeting to discuss concerns over the company’s discharge of unregulated chemicals into the Cape Fear River.
“It went well,” said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin of the meeting, “A strong effort is being made to determine the best options for short-term and long-term solutions to the water concerns.”
While Martin declined to reveal all of the options discussed, he did say one topic of conversation was the extension of Bladen County water lines to residents living in the area.
William Cain lives in Bladen County near the DuPont plant on a road with three other homes. Up to this point, all residents on the road have been on well water, as running county water lines across N.C. 87 has been cost prohibitive. Cain, however, believes the time has come for that to change and that DuPont’s deep pockets are the source.
“As far as I’m concerned, Chemours needs to pay that bill,” Cain remarked. “It’s no fault of mine my water is contaminated, and I have no reason to use county water other than the fact that they ruined my well. They’re the sole reason we’ve got this problem, and they should foot the bill to run it to my house and to everybody else affected.”
Cain has been using bottled water in his house for cooking and drinking, but he said he has been told running water lines would take approximately 12 months.
“I don’t have any other option other than using bottled water,” he said.
In the meantime, Martin said county and plant representatives are “exploring options” including more short-term solutions.
“Hopefully, we’ll know something in a few weeks,” he said Thursday.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.