Latest test results show spike in PFAS level in Cape Fear River

Latest test results show spike in PFAS level in Cape Fear River
Raw water sampled June 3 showed total PFAS at 262 parts per trillion (ppt).

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Water drawn from the Cape Fear River for the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant shows the highest levels of total PFAS compounds since last September, according to the latest test results from Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

Raw water sampled June 3 showed total PFAS at 262 parts per trillion (ppt). Levels in water treated at the Sweeney plant during the same round of testing were at 119 ppt.

According to a CFPUA news release, the majority of the PFAS compounds detected in the June 3 sample were those identified by regulators as originating from the Chemours chemical plant.

“Stopping Chemours’ permitted discharges have helped reduce PFAS in the Cape Fear River,” said CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner. “But what we’ve seen in our monitoring indicates that we can expect to see PFAS in our raw water at varying concentrations for many years to come.”

Since state regulators suspended Chemours from discharging wastewater, the overall trend of raw water concentrations appears to be about 100 ppt, according to CFPUA officials.

PFAS levels spiked to 297 ppt in September 2018.

“The variability of PFAS concentrations in river water could be tied to a number of factors, including river flows,” the release states. “Lower river flows appear to result in higher total PFAS concentrations.”

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