CFPUA expects to reduce PFAS levels in drinking water by end of month

Jim Flechtner, CFPUA Executive Director, led the information session about PFAS and the Sweeney...
Jim Flechtner, CFPUA Executive Director, led the information session about PFAS and the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.
Updated: Nov. 15, 2018 at 4:19 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - One day after the Environmental Protection Agency released its first-ever toxicity assessment GenX in our drinking water, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said it is implementing a temporary solution to reduce PFAS levels at its Sweeney Water Treatment Facility.

“We are in the process now of changing out some of our current filters with GAC (granular activated carbon), so that within a matter of weeks we’ll be able to start reducing the levels of these compounds in our drinking water," CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner told WECT. “Long term, we need to add a new treatment process to the plant to truly be able to keep those levels down as low as we possibly can.”

The EPA said in a news release Wednesday that long-term exposure to compounds, like GenX, used in nonstick coatings appears to be dangerous even in minute amounts. GenX has been found in water supplies serving hundreds of thousands of people downstream of the Chemours Company plant near Fayetteville.

“Unfortunately, this risk assessment process did not occur before these compounds were released to the environment,” the CFPUA release reads. “While time is needed to fully assess these compounds, our community continues to be exposed through their presence in our source water. We do not yet fully understand if the levels of PFAS in drinking water have the potential to affect public health.”

The utility said it expects more reports like Wednesday’s EPA assessment as experts continue assessing effects of PFAS on human health and the environment.

CFPUA also announced this week that researchers from UNCW had discovered three new PFAS in our finished drinking water, but the significance of those findings remains unclear. While those chemicals have been detected in the water, the technology to measure their concentration levels is not readily available.

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