BOLIVIA, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County has hired lawyers to represent the county against companies who discharged chemicals into the Cape Fear River.
In a Wednesday afternoon news release, Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy said the county has retained the national law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. as well as Harold Seagle of Seagle Law in North Carolina to represent its interests against Chemours, DuPont, and Kuraray, and to recover costs and rate payer funds required to investigate, manage, reduce and remove certain chemicals from drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River.
"This is an important step in protecting the long-term quality of public drinking water in the Cape Fear Region," Hardy said in the release. "As we have said on numerous occasions, we will not stand for the discharge of perfluorinated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. We remain absolutely committed to protecting the long-term viability of the Cape Fear River."
Chemours discharged GenX, an unregulated compound, into the river at its Fayetteville Works site and Brunswick County said in the news release that it believes PFCs were being deposited in the river as recently as this month.
The county said it will explore all legal remedies on behalf of the county and its residents, including but not limited to costs of filtration and punitive damages if warranted.
"Brunswick County has retained our firms to investigate and pursue those legal remedies caused by all chemicals coming from the Fayetteville Works plant," said Baron & Budd shareholder Scott Summy, who tried the first MTBE chemical contamination case in the United States in Wilmington.
The firms will be investigating what the corporations knew and when they knew it, according to Wednesday's release. Chemours, DuPont and Kuraray discharge wastewater under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued by the State of North Carolina.
The release stated that it appears the corporations failed to disclose the full suite of PFC chemicals discharged from the Fayetteville Works plant into the Cape Fear River through wastewater or other pathways.