SOUTHEASTERN N.C. (WECT) - Starting Monday and continuing through Aug. 2, Chemours will be gathering soil samples to test for levels of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including GenX.
Environmental professionals with Geosyntec and Parsons will be collecting the samples from right-of-way areas in Bladen, Cumberland and Robeson counties.
“There will be sampling in right-of-way areas only, so the work would be visible from main roads or subdivision roads near the plant site,” Lisa Randall, a spokesperson for Chemours, said via email. “Area residents should not be concerned if they see an environmental professional gathering samples.”
The soil samples will be taken in multiple locations, distances and directions from Chemours’ Fayetteville Works site using the incremental sampling methodology (ISM) developed by the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC).
According to the ITRC website, “Incremental sampling methodology (ISM) is a structured composite sampling and processing protocol that reduces data variability and provides a reasonably unbiased estimate of mean contaminant concentrations in an volume of soil targeted for sampling. ISM provides representative samples of specific soil volumes defined as decision units (DUs) by collecting numerous increments of soil (typically 30–100 increments) that are combined, processed, and subsampled according to specific protocols.”
On Sept. 7, 2017, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan filed a complaint and motions for a temporary restraining order against Chemours for alleged violations by Chemours and DuPont of North Carolina water quality laws and regulations of the discharge of PFAS and GenX.
On Sept. 8, 2017, the court entered a partial consent order.
After several months of negotiation between the two parties, the consent order includes the following solutions:
- Install abatement technology at the facility (including a thermal oxidizer), that will permanently reduce annual air emissions of GenX compounds and other PFAS by at least 99% from baseline levles and control all PFAS emissions from process streams routed to the thermal oxidizer at an efficiency of 99.99%.
- On an interim basis, reduce annual air emissions of GenX compounds by at least 82% beginning as of Oct. 6, 2016. and by at least 92% beginning as of Dec. 31, 2018.
- Continue to capture for off-site disposal all process wastewater from its operations at the facility unless or until NPDES permit is issued authorizing the discharge of process wastewater.
- Undertake the measures specified below with respect to abatement and remediation of groundwater contamination and provision of alternative drinking water supplies and.
- Agree to the measures and verify and ensure compliance with the foregoing commitments and the requirements of this consent order.
The following is a list of what Chemors will be looking for over the next two weeks, including finding any groundwater seeps contributing to surface water contamination at the site and areas with significantly contaminated sediment along with:
- The source and cause of contamination
- Any imminent hazards to public health and safety and any actions taken to mitigate them
- All receptors (to include as potential receptors drinking water wells and surface waters) and significant exposure pathways
- The horizontal and vertical extent of soil and groundwater contamination and all significant factors affecting contaminant transport
- Geological and hydrogeological features influencing the movement, chemical, and physical character of the contaminants
To find out more about the consent order and the specifics of the testing, click here.