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CFPUA: September Report Showed Release Of More Compounds Into River

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Nov 28, 2018
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said Wednesday that a September report shows that Chemours' Fayetteville Works site released "additional PFAS compounds into the river."

Officials with the utility said that when reviewing a proposed consent order released by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), the CFPUA became aware of the report quantifying levels of the chemical up and downstream from Chemours Fayetteville Works facility in Bladen County, according to a news release.

“Data attached in the report also show that PFECA (Perfluoroethercarboxylic acids) levels at the CFPUA intake are above a combined 70 parts per trillion, the level at which the proposed consent order would require Chemours to fund additional treatment for groundwater users in Bladen County,” officials said in the release.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority again questioned the parameters of the proposed agreement between the state, Southern Environmental Law Center and Chemours, following a September report detailing levels of PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, in the Cape Fear River.

Last week, NCDEQ issued a news release that stated a proposed consent order was signed with Chemours that requires the company to fix pollution in the Cape Fear River caused from PFAS. The order detailed requirements for the company as well as a required payment of a civil penalty of $12 million to the state, as well as $1 million for investigative costs.

On Wednesday, CFPUA has sent a letter to NCDEQ Secretary Michael Regan. In that letter, CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner wrote seeking context about the report and whether it was considered by the agency during negotiations of the consent order.

“If not, does this information influence NCDEQ’s opinion concerning whether the draft consent order adequately addresses the health of people downstream in New Hanover County?” Flechtner asked in the letter.

The report CFPUA is citing was prepared by Geosyntec Consultants of North Carolina Inc. for Chemours.

According to the report, Chemours conducted three sampling programs between September 2017 and June 2018 to assess the distribution of PFAS in the Cape Fear River.

The assessment included 35 different compounds, and in one of three sampling programs, samples included where CFPUA draws its water supply.

The company, however, claims it may not be responsible for some of the chemicals that were assessed in the report.

“All three programs showed PFCAs and PFSAs were present in the Cape Fear River at similar concentrations upstream and downstream of the Chemours Site indicating that the Chemours Site did not contribute to Cape Fear River PFCA or PFSA concentrations.

"Conversely, HFPO-DA, PFECAs and PFESAs were detected in the Cape Fear River only adjacent to and downstream from the Site, indicating these compounds were associated with the Site. Of PFAS compounds analyzed, approximately half of the total mass detected at Kings Bluff Intake Canal on 6 June 2018 appear to be associated with the Chemours Site (i.e., 76J‡1 nanograms per liter (ng/L) of a total of 144.7 ng/L). The remaining 68.7 ng/L were PFCAs and PFSAs associated with non-Chemours sources throughout the Cape Fear River Watershed and primarily upstream of the Site,” stated an excerpt from a summery in the full report.

CFPUA officials said in the release that the September report confirms its opinion that the proposed agreement does not address concerns in New Hanover County. In addition, the utility also stated that it believes Chemours does not “notify downstream users of information critical to public health in a timely and efficient manner.”
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