Since our last article, “PFAS Contamination of the Cape Fear Still An Issue“, the Cape Fear region continues to experience high levels of “forever chemicals” in their water supply.
As mentioned in previous articles, the main offender for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination is the Chemours Co. Fayetteville Works Plant. Many chemicals, including GenX, were discharged into the Cape Fear River. Research found the PFAS chemicals in high levels both in groundwater and air emissions.
Little Change In PFAS Levels
Although it has been nearly a year and a half since Chemours entered a consent agreement limiting the amount of PFAS discharge, the measurable levels of these chemicals has remained largely the same.
According to October 2020 Coastal Review article, “PFAS Levels Still High Despite Emission Cuts“, Chemours has made significant changes to their PFAS emissions, though it hasn’t made much of a difference:
In March, the facility announced its newly installed thermal oxidizer, one of the requirements of the consent order, was removing 99.99% of PFAS from its air emissions. A thermal oxidizer heats volatile organic compounds to the point those compounds are broken down and destroyed before entering the atmosphere.
But the Cape Fear region’s drinking water sources continue to contain the highest concentrations of PFAS, which are a group of man-made chemicals used in consumer products, in the state.
Furthermore, on average the filtration only removed about half of the PFAS chemicals from the water.
Heather Stapleton, an environmental science professor at Duke University, offers a few pieces of advice to the general public. According to the same Coastal Review article:
“We do like to make the point that any filter is better than no filter,” Stapleton said.
She also encourages residents frequently change their filters.
Additionally, the Cape Fear region will be seeing new filtration systems put into place sometime in the near future:
Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, or CFPUA, is in the process of constructing eight granular activated carbon filters at its Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.
The nearly $43 million project could reduce PFAS levels by 90% at the plant, which provides about 80% of the drinking water to CFPUA customers, according to the authority’s website.
About 160,000 residents in the Cape Fear region get their drinking water from the public utility.
We will continue to observe the GenX situation and deliver information on any new findings or resolutions. To learn more about the background and specifics of GenX, you can visit our law firm’s website pages:
- GenX Cancers Overview
- Summary of Information
- Timeline: GenX Contamination of the Cape Fear River
- Timeline: GenX Study Results
- GenX: Cancer Evaluation Form
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.