Court approves order to stop PFAS from entering Cape Fear River

Court approves order to stop PFAS from entering Cape Fear River
DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said a revised consent order between his department and Chemours "is a big step in the right direction." (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A judge has approved a consent order requiring Chemours to do more to protect drinking water for residents in southeastern North Carolina.

The revised consent order between Chemours and the NC Department of Environmental Quality was made public last week. The updated agreement requires Chemours to report monthly GenX air emissions, analyze per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) buildup in river sediment and provide filtration systems for certain drinking water fountains and maintain them for 20 years.

"Today’s ruling means real relief for people who have wondered for too long when the pollution in their water would be properly addressed by Chemours," DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a news release. "This ruling provides a clear timeline and certainty for the people of the Cape Fear River Basin. It sets a strong precedent: profits may not come before people, and the leadership of the state of North Carolina will not allow your actions to go unchecked."

Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser approved the order in its entirety, meaning reductions in PFAS/GenX downstream will continue, according to the release.

Cape Fear River Watch partnered with DEQ to file the revised consent order against Chemours, which has admitted releasing GenX into the Cape Fear River at its Fayetteville Works plant.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said last week it is reconsidering its motion against Chemours after the filing of the revised consent order, saying it includes “some substantial steps toward addressing the concerns of downstream water users” and forces “a number of additional measures on Chemours that were missing from the original proposal.”

All terms of the order went into effect Monday and DEQ said it will implement terms of the order with the weight of the court’s contempt power to hold Chemours accountable.

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