CFPUA director answers questions at GenX meeting

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The second Water Wednesday community meeting was hosted by Clean Cape Fear on Wednesday night.

About 100 community members attended the meeting to hear from a panel of community leaders and brainstorm solutions for problems associated with GenX, an unregulated chemical discharged into the Cape Fear River by the Chemours Company in Fayetteville.

The executive director of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, Jim Fletchner, served on the board of panelists Wednesday.

He told the crowd that the CFPUA was looking into multiple treatment options and is pressing the Environmental Protection Agency for solutions. Fletchner also said that the CFPUA is looking into taking legal action against Chemours.

For many who attended Wednesday's meeting, that wasn't enough.

One of the main concerns for many in attendance was that those who do not have access to the internet or television don't have a way to stay informed about GenX in the drinking water.

One woman pressed Fletchner to send out informational letters to all CFPUA customers with their billing statements.

Fletchner agreed after pressure from the crowd. He also agreed to make sure the information would be available in Spanish and other languages.

Others expressed interest in using the public emergency response system to alert as many people as possible of updates pertaining to GenX.

Other panelists in attendance were leaders from the NAACP, religious organizations, and representatives from Tidal Creek Co-op. Their focus was on helping those who cannot afford bottled or filtered water.

Two public representatives were also in attendance, County Commissioner Rob Zapple and Mayor Pro-tem Margaret Haynes.

Zapple passionately addressed the public, letting them know elected officials are on their side.

"That same frustration is felt by our elected officials, by the CFPUA, by the NCDEQ and to a certain extent the EPA," Zapple said. "They get it. It's all of their jobs to look out for the public's health and safety and we are trying. We are working. We are reaching out to put pressure on all of those agencies to see how we can fix this."

Clean Cape Fear plans to hold more Water Wednesdays as the community works to find solutions to possible GenX contamination.

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