SOUTHEASTERN NC (WECT) - While acknowledging it welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency releasing a study on GenX, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said other PFAS compounds need to be considered to protect drinking water for customers in southeastern North Carolina.
“Focusing on GenX, PFBS, PFOA, and PFOS, without considering other PFAS, is not sufficient to protect drinking water supplies and the environment,” the utility said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “This information would allow utilities to assess their current treatment capabilities and design effective upgrades.”
CFPUA went on to say toxicity assessments should be made available for all additional PFAS that have been found in the Cape Fear River.
"Existing toxicity assessments must be updated to include the impact of exposure to multiple PFAS compounds at once," CFPUA said.
The utility serves approximately 200,000 people in New Hanover County through three drinking water systems, the largest of which uses the Cape Fear River as its source water. More than 10 PFAS have been regularly detected in raw and finished water at CFPUA plants and scientists across the state are identifying additional contaminants, according to the CFPUA statement.
Research on the compounds and implementing temporary solutions have cost millions of dollars and design upgrades to CFPUA's water treatment facility are in the works.
"This process will take several years and could cost our residential customers an additional five dollars per month that they should not have to spend," CFPUA said.
According to CFPUA, residents will continue to be exposed to a variety of PFAS chemicals in drinking water during a risk assessment process that may take years.
"While CFPUA welcomes this draft toxicity assessment for GenX and PFBS, much work remains to be done," the utility said.
The EPA’s draft toxicity assessment is open for public comment until Jan. 21, 2019.