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CFPUA Files Motion To Intervene In GenX Lawsuit

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Dec 20, 2018
Cape Fear Public Utility announced Thursday that it has filed a motion to intervene in a state GenX lawsuit against The Chemours Co., one day before the end of the public comment period on a proposed consent order that would settle the matter.

The utility is seeking to intervene in the lawsuit because “we believe the proposed order is not adequate to protect CFPUA’s interests or remedy CFPUA’s harms caused by Chemours’ PFAS releases into the Cape Fear River,” utility officials said in the release.
 
The proposed consent order, released to the public the day before Thanksgiving, indicated that the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Cape Fear River Watch and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), signed a proposed consent order with Chemours that requires the company to address environmental concerns raised by the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances.
 
GenX, which is included in the class of chemicals known as PFAS, has been tied to the Chemours' operations at the Fayetteville Works site in Bladen County and in the treated drinking water of area residents.
 
The proposed order lists several requirements for the company, including reducing GenX emissions by 92 percent by the end of the year, funding health studies and paying a civil penalty of $12 million, as well as $1 million for investigative costs.
 
The proposed consent order is still open for public comment until Friday.
 
The CFPUA responded to the proposed consent order days after it was released and addressed questions to the NCDEQ, which were made public.

CFPUA officials said they were not aware of the proposed order before it was published and was not asked how it would impact the utility's efforts to remove PFAS from drinking water.
 
“NCDEQ regulates dischargers to the Cape Fear River and public water suppliers. It thus regulates both Chemours and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. Over the past year and a half, CFPUA has tried many times to get more information from NCDEQ on its planned efforts to manage Chemours PFAS releases. We have yet to receive substantive responses to our questions,” officials said in the release.

The utility submitted formal comments on the proposed consent order Monday, according to the release.

Officials said their top concerns are that the order does not adequately protect the drinking water sources downstream or provide assistance in treating the water for PFAS compounds.
 
“We believe a Motion to Intervene is necessary to ensure our concerns are fairly considered by the State of North Carolina and the Court,” stated the release. “CFPUA should not be left to depend on its own litigation efforts in Federal Court to ensure the health of our customers is protected.”

Comments can be made by emailing [email protected], according to NCDEQ.
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