DEQ release results of PFAS testing in groundwater wells

Updated: Oct. 1, 2019 at 11:18 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - PFAS has been found in rivers, rainwater, the air, and now it’s been found in groundwater that the public drinks.

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality crews did three rounds of tests on more than two dozen wells in the past four months after Cape Fear Public Utility Authority reported traces of PFAS in its wells. According to the report, the levels of PFAS that showed up in the public wells are below the health standards set by the EPA, while the levels of Gen X also fell below the state’s health goal of 140 parts per trillion.

GenX was found in the drinking water of thousands of people in the Cape Fear region more than two years ago, discharged by Chemours, a spin off company from Dupont. This unknown contaminant sparked fear and outrage across the area. The discovery led to meetings, protests, water samples, and lawsuits.

Jim Flechtner, the executive director of the CFPUA, explained that the latest results are “clearly another indication of the environmental damage that Chemours and Dupont have done from years of release of these PFAS compounds into the environment.”

Flechtner said there is still plenty of work to do by the DEQ, but the results point to a bigger picture of PFAS impacts on the environment.

Although the levels of PFAS were found to be below the state’s health standard, many residents are concerned that compounds were detected in the first place.

Julie Harper is a resident of Glynnwood Mobile Home Park. The well that supplies her water was among many where PFAS were detected.

She said the results made her feel fearful.

“You don’t know the unknown,” she said. "You don’t know what it could do to you and your children, so it’s a little fearful and it’s not good, it’s just not good stuff.”

Looking to the future, Jim Flechtner said CFPUA “will continue to work with the state to help understand what this means, not just for long term groundwater quality but also for the residents and citizens of New Hanover county who rely on the groundwater for irrigation, for drinking, and other sources.”

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