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CFPUA Selected To Present At EPA Summit On GenX-related Compounds

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted May 17, 2018

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is slated to present at a national leadership summit in Washington D.C. next week on a class of chemicals that includes GenX, according to a news release.

The CFPUA's Director of Engineering Carel Vandermeyden will be speaking at the PFAS National Leadership Summit and Engagement at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the nation's capital May 22, according to a CFPUA news release.

The summit is being hosted by the federal agency to "take action on Per-and-Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). PFAS is a category of man-made chemicals that have been widely used to make products because of their stain-resistant, waterproof and/or nonstick properties," according to an EPA news release.

PFAS are a class of chemicals that include GenX and other peri-fluorinated compounds, according to the CFPUA.

CFPUA was chosen by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to present on the challenges of PFAS from a water treatment perspective, said Vandermeyden. He will host a presentation on the challenges of monitoring and treating for per-fluorinated compounds in drinking water.

"This summit offers the opportunity to hold a national dialogue on per-fluorinated compound from a wide range of perspectives such as public health, water treatment and water/wastewater regulation. Sharing the first-hand experiences of local communities and water providers is important to federal regulators as they look for ways to address these contaminants across the nation. Our local experience can help in establishing federal standards, protocols and best practices," Vandermeyden said in an email Thursday.

While the event is by invitation only, people can live stream portions of the summit, including the keynote address by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, on the EPA website beginning at 8:30 a.m. May 22.

"This is a great opportunity for CFPUA to discuss the challenges that local water utilities and communities face when dealing with these contaminants," Vandermeyden said about the summit, adding that it's also an opportunity for CFPUA to stress the need for "better regulatory controls" to protect source water quality and public health.

In addition, it's a chance to call for more federal guidance on the risks associated with these compounds, Vandermeyden said.

"We hope to receive updates from EPA on the actions they are taking to address per-fluorinated compounds in source water, and to receive a timeline for the implementation of enforceable source water standards for per-fluorinated compounds like GenX," Vandermeyden said.

Other notable speakers include representatives from the Department of Defense, state Departments of Public Health, EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, according to the release.

"CFPUA welcomes the opportunity to convey the challenges our community has faced over the past year to the federal regulatory agency responsible for setting national drinking water standards," Vandermeyden said.

CFPUA will be releasing its presentation to the public through its weekly update next week.

The news comes on the heels of another announcement by the CFPUA that they oppose the request by The Chemours Co. for an Interim Maximum Allowable Concentration (IMAC) of 70,000 parts per trillion (ppt) for GenX in groundwater.

"We will be filing a formal opposition to the petition to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality," CFPUA officials said in the release. 

GenX and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been detected in groundwater around the area of Chemours' Fayetteville Works facility in Bladen County. The groundwater contamination is due at least in part to "historic air emissions of PFCs from Fayetteville Works, resulting in deposition of the compounds on soil that eventually infiltrates the groundwater," officials said.

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