CFPUA requests GenX records from NCDEQ for the second time

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA), and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) are two agencies working toward the same goal: to give people in southeast North Carolina clean drinking water.

On July 19, the CFPUA asked the state for all public records related to GenX, post GenX chemicals, PFECAs, and post-PFECAs.

The DEQ has still not fully complied with the CFPUA's request.

On Monday, CFPUA's lawyers sent their second request letter to the NCDEQ, requesting they release a narrower set of public records.

The letter read:

"Our June 19 Request asked DEQ to interpret the request to be as broad and comprehensive as is allowed under North Carolina law. We renew our request that DEQ provide all of the public records identified in our June 19 Request and urgently request a narrower set of public records."

"Hopefully this letter will be responded to," New Hanover County Commissioner and CFPUA Board Member Skip Watkins said. "We're very hopeful that Raleigh, that DEQ will respond in a prompt manner."

But after waiting more than four months for its public records request to be filled, CFPUA's frustration is starting to eat away at the optimism.

"Southeastern North Carolina deserves to know," Watkins said.

CFPUA said it has received just one file from the initial July 19 request.

"In response to the June 19 Request we received a copy of records from the 'DuPont/Chemours NPDES Permit File' and DEQ committed to searching for and providing to us additional records in the possession of DEQ. We have received no additional records from DEQ except residential well test data current through September 29, 2017, received on October 26, 2017," the letter stated.

On Monday, NCDEQ representative Jamie Kritzer wrote in an email, "We made arrangements for CFPUA to obtain some of the public records they requested in June. They have come to our offices and gathered some of the public records."

In their second request, CFPUA's lawyers have offered to send "well-qualified personnel" to help in the process.

"As of this morning, we did send an additional request in asking for that response by Monday and we trust the DEQ will do that," Watkins said.

CFPUA has requested the documents to ensure its ongoing pilot test at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant takes into account all known per-and polyflourinated substances in the Cape Fear River.

The DEQ gave WECT no clear answers whether it would fulfill the new request by Monday, Nov 8.

"CFPUA, it's our customers. It's our rate-payers. We deserve a right to know. They got the letter today. Let's hope they respond," Watkins said.

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