State issues notice of violation against Chemours after new groundwater tests

State issues notice of violation against Chemours after new groundwater tests

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - GenX has been detected in groundwater wells at Chemours' Fayetteville Works facility and state officials plan to issue a notice of violation against the chemical company.

According to an NC Department of Environmental Quality news release on Wednesday, GenX was found in wells that are used for environmental monitoring, not drinking water, at the Chemours facility.

"We are taking all necessary steps to address clear violations of state rules and will launch a private well testing regimen for homeowners living near the facility, to determine if the contamination has moved beyond the Chemours facility into well water used for drinking," said Michael Regan, secretary of the NCDEQ. "As is our routine when we find violations of groundwater rules on a company's property, we are reaching out to residents who use wells as their source of drinking water."

The discovery of GenX, an unregulated compound that Chemours discharged into the Cape Fear River, in the wells violates state groundwater standards.

As part of the ongoing state investigation, DEQ collected groundwater samples from 14 groundwater monitoring wells on the Chemours property in early August. Concentrations of GenX that exceeded acceptable limits were detected in 13 of 14 industrial wells at the plant. Preliminary test results have also identified other detections of flourinated compounds.

The highest concentration of GenX from the 14 wells was 61,300 parts per trillion.

Tests for PFOA and PFOS were also taken and the highest concentration of PFOA -- also known as C8 -- was 3,920 parts per trillion. The Environmental Protection Agency's water health advisory level for PFOA is 70 parts per trillion.

Chemours released a statement Tuesday night acknowledging GenX was found in its groundwater monitoring wells and said it will begin offering water sampling at residences in the immediate vicinity of the Fayetteville Works site.

"Chemours has made state officials aware of this program and will continue to work closely with regulators to answer questions, provide information as needed, and determine next steps," the company said, adding that it remains committed to ongoing water sampling at and near the Fayetteville site.

Water samples collected by DEQ in early August at the company's industrial wells were sent to three laboratories. The preliminary results come from only one of the labs – Gel Laboratories in Charleston, SC. State officials have not received test results from Chemours that were sent to Test America's Colorado lab for analysis, and are awaiting final results from the EPA lab in Research Triangle Park.

DEQ and NC Department of Health and Human Services staff alerted health officials Wednesday in Bladen and Cumberland counties to the preliminary test results. The state will perform initial testing for people who live near Chemours while requiring the company to produce a comprehensive testing and compliance plan.

The two state agencies are also making plans to host an information session from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at St. Paul's Middle School to answer questions about the groundwater test results from the Fayetteville Works facility.

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