H2GO: Water heater at center of GenX lawsuit had high levels of other perfluorinated compounds

H2GO: Water heater at center of GenX lawsuit had high levels of other perfluorinated compounds

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - H2GO announced Thursday that the utility has received a copy of the test results that spurred a lawsuit by a Brunswick County woman against Chemours and Dupont which claimed high levels of GenX had accumulated inside her water heater.

According to the complaint filed on Monday, a June 2017 sampling of bottom sludge collected from plaintiff Victoria Carey's water heater detected GenX levels at 857 parts per trillion in the top layer of sludge and 623 ppt in the bottom layer. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Service established a health advisory level for GenX at 140 ppt.

H2GO said those test results also show an accumulation of several perfluorinated compounds other than GenX.

Levels of Nafion by-products also exceeded 140 ppt. Compounds with four or less fluorinated carbon chains exceeded levels of 4,000 ppt. Compounds with five to six fluorinated carbon chains exceeded levels of 1,300 ppt, and compounds with seven or greater fluorinated carbon chains exceeded 180 ppt.

The total toxic mixture level in the hot water heater sediment was greater than 5,600 ppt.

With those test results in mind, H2GO has released the following steps so customers can flush and drain their water heaters:

  • Turn off the power or gas to the hot water heater.
  • Next, turn the cold-water supply valve off that allows water to flow into the heater.
  • Turn on the hot water faucet in a sink or bathtub to prevent a vacuum from forming.
  • Hook a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and run it outside.
  • Open the drain valve where the hose is attached.
  • Open the pressure relief valve on top of the tank by pulling up on it.
  • Allow the water in the tank to drain out.
  • When the tank is empty, open the cold-water valve for a few minutes to flush out the last remaining sediment.
  • Close the drain valve and pressure relief valve, turn the hot water faucet in your sink or tub off and allow the tank to fill back up.
  • Turn on the hot water in a sink or bathtub to free the line from air (the water will be cold at this point, do not panic).
  • Relight the pilot to the heater if gas, and turn it on.
  • If electric, flip the breaker to restore power to the water heater.
  • Wait about 20 minutes for the water to heat up and turn on hot water somewhere in your house to ensure hot water is coming out.
  • If you are not comfortable with this procedure, please contact a licensed plumber.

H2GO recommends that customers follow these steps at least twice a year to keep hot water heaters clean of sediment buildup and contaminants.

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