BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A judge in Bladen County has granted a partial consent order between North Carolina and the Chemours Company regarding the release of GenX into the Cape Fear River. The hearing was delayed for about 4.5 hours Friday while legal teams with the Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours reached an agreement behind closed doors.
The state requested a judge issue a temporary restraining order against Chemours to immediately stop the company's "unlawful" discharge of GenX and other chemical compounds.
State attorneys had a hearing on the motion Friday afternoon in Bladen County Superior Court before Judge Douglas Sasser, whose ruling is meant to stop Chemours' discharge of GenX, an unregulated compound produced at the company's Fayetteville Works site.
Chemours and DEQ reached four agreements in the partial consent order:
- Chemours will continue the "measures it has implemented" to prevent wastewater contaminated with GenX into state waters
- Chemours will "immediately prevent" the discharge of Nafion byproducts 1 and 2 (also called PFESA compounds) for the immediate future until a permit is filed.
- Chemours must also allow the Environmental Protection Agency and the NC Department of Environmental Quality to review certain confidential business information.
- Chemours must be more responsive to requests from the DEQ than it has been in the past, making "good faith efforts" to get back to them in a timely manner.
Lawyers from the state and Chemours also stated several times their intent to continue conversations and keep the judge updated.
After the hearing, the legal team from Chemours refused a request to be interviewed about the ruling, and asked WECT to email the company's media contact.
The hearing is the latest in a series of moves by the NC DEQ since the revelation of two additional compounds discovered in Chemours wastewater, known as Nafion byproduct 1 and 2, in late August. Earlier this week, the state agency issued a notice of violation against Chemours related to groundwater contamination at its Fayetteville Works plant -- located near the Bladen-Cumberland county line – in addition to initiating legal action and threatening to suspend the company's discharge permit at the site.
"By failing to disclose the presence of GenX and related compounds in its discharge, and by misrepresenting that GenX and related compounds were not present in its discharge, Chemours has caused a state of public alarm and uncertainty regarding the safety of public drinking water," the state's complaint states.