Samples collected at drinking water sites on the lower Cape Fear River show levels of GenX, PFOA and PFOS below established health goals, according to a Tuesday afternoon news release from the NC Department of Environmental Quality.
Wastewater discharge samples were taken from Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility and finished water samples were collected at five water treatment plants in the lower Cape Fear: Bladen Bluffs, International Paper, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, Northwest Brunswick and Pender County Utility water treatment plants.
An expanded list of chemical compounds was included in the latest round of tests, but only PFOA, PFOS and GenX have established health goals. The state health goal, established by the NC Department for Health and Human Services, for GenX is 140 parts per trillion and federal health advisories for PFOA and PFOs are 70 ppt.
Concentrations of PFOA, PFOS and GenX were found to be below the established health goals for the three compounds at the five finished drinking water sites in DEQ-conducted tests between Sept. 14 and Oct. 5. Concentrations for the three compounds were found at the Chemours outfall up to 98.4 parts per trillion for GenX on Sept. 22, 24.2 parts per trillion for PFOA on Oct. 2, and 17 parts per trillion for PFOS on Sept. 26. The results also included five tests in which no GenX was detected at the Bladen Bluffs finished drinking water site.
The results of tests conducted back to Aug. 28 also show concentrations for GenX below the established health goal at finished drinking water sites. Test results dating back to August for the other fluorinated compounds, including PFOA and PFOS, will be shared when they are completed.
“Although these compounds are below the established health goals, our work is far from over,” NCDEQ Secretary Michael Regan said. “We remain vigilant in our actions to continue monitoring our waterways and to develop new, better health information about these chemicals so we can ensure we’re doing everything in our power to protect North Carolinians' drinking water.”
The DHHS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and others to develop health information for compounds that do not currently have a health goal.
DEQ began testing water samples from the Lower Cape Fear River for GenX in June as part of the state’s investigation into industrial wastewater discharges at the Chemours facility in Fayetteville. Concentrations of GenX in finished drinking water have been below the state’s public health goal since this summer when Chemours was prompted by pressure from state and local officials to stop the discharge of GenX into the Cape Fear River.
An EPA report released this week identified additional industrial wastewater with fluorinated compounds coming from manufacturing areas inside the Chemours facility. At DEQ’s urging, the company has agreed to capture and ship the additional wastewater from those areas offsite for incineration.
The state plans to continue testing water at multiple locations in the Cape Fear and Chemours is working with DEQ to conduct similar testing on private wells in the region.
Results of the most recent laboratory tests and more information on the state’s GenX investigation may be found online by clicking here.
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