CFPUA presses EPA for solutions

CFPUA presses EPA for solutions
(Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority held a long term planning meeting Thursday to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations and how to better interact with the community.

The board wants the EPA to help them find out if GenX does, in fact, have adverse health effects.

If research shows that it does, the CFPUA wants the EPA to issue a health advisory against it, and any other potentially dangerous chemicals found in the Cape Fear River.

The problem the board is facing is that the EPA has not responded to letters from CFPUA attorneys asking for guidance in answering questions and finding solutions.

Those letters were re-sent by the CFPUA legal team Thursday.

The board also heard a presentation from CFPUA's Environmental Management Director Beth Eckert explaining the EPA's testing practices.

Board members expressed frustration in dealing with the unknowns of GenX and other toxic compounds.

"We're not a regulatory agency," CFPUA Board Member Charlie Rivenbark said. "We're a water treatment plant and a sewage treatment plant operator. We take great pride in the product we serve our customers and along comes GenX and it's something that concerns us all. We all live here. This board doesn't live in California. We live right here. We drink the water."

Rivenbark also noted CFPUA water has always met or exceeded EPA standards.

"There's a lot that we don't know," he said. "There's a lot that the EPA doesn't know, the (NC Department of Environmental Quality) does not know, but we're depending on them to come to us with some solutions and some answers to some very fair questions. Bottom line, is the water safe to drink? We think it is. I think it is."

Board members did note they are still waiting for a definitive answer from the NCDEQ and the EPA.

After Wednesday night's community meeting, the board agreed to send letters in both English and Spanish about GenX to all CFPUA customers. The board said they were committed to being transparent with the community.

While they wait for answers from the EPA, CFPUA is looking to UNCW for help and will meet with UNCW professors Monday to discuss water testing options.

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