NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Four state senators, including two from local counties, have introduced a bill that would make scientists, equipment and other resources available to research ways to improve water affected by GenX and other emerging contaminants.
House Bill 189, which was introduced by Sens. Michael Lee (New Hanover Co.), Bill Rabon (Brunswick Co.), Wesly Meredith and Trudy Wade, states that "relevant faculty expertise, technology, and instrumentation, including mass spectrometers, existing throughout the University of North Carolina System should be made available" for fantasizing water samples for discharge of GenX and other contaminants as well as related research on improving water quality.
The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to consult with federal agencies, along with the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill, on the process for setting health goals for pre- and poly-fluoroalkyl contaminants.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would be directed to review its NPDES permitting program and to cooperate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on any audits of the permit program.
The DEQ also would coordinate and share water quality information with its sister agencies in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The bill also would provide $2.4 million to the DEQ and $2 million to the Collaboratory to use for the purposes of the bill.
"Water quality is not a political issue -- it is a public health issue, and a deeply personal issue to me. The health of my constituents in Southeast North Carolina, neighbors and family depend on what we do, and I am pleased this bill will leverage the expertise of our university system's world-renowned scientists and utilize state-of-the-art equipment that already belongs to our taxpayers to research ways to improve and protect our drinking water," said Sen. Lee. "This legislation provides another incremental step forward as we continue to search for answers as to how GenX has been in our water supply for over 35 years and why we continue to hear there are further discharges of GenX and other compounds with no enforcement action on the part of DEQ."