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CFPUA releases ad countering Chemours’ controversial campaign

CFPUA releases ad countering Chemours’ controversial campaign
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 3:49 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After months of listening to Chemours’ claim to be a good neighbor in its ad campaign, the Cape Fear Public Utility authority launched a campaign of its own — but not in direct response.

As a recap, Chemours is responsible for polluting the Cape Fear River with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). It’s been years since the issue was brought to light and people are still dealing with tainted water.

“There was some consideration given to addressing Chemours directly, but our board felt it would be better to talk about what we’re doing to address the PFAS that our neighbor, Chemours, is putting in the Cape Fear River,” said Vaughn Hagerty, CFPUA’s director of communications.

When you see CFPUA’s ad, you might catch the subtle reference to Chemours’ “good neighbor” claim, but that’s not the part to which CFPUA wants you to pay close attention.

Now, the Cape Fear area is just months away from seeing CFPUA’s new granular activated carbon filters come online. Once that happens, they’ll reduce Gen X (one of many PFAS) in the water to the point where it’s virtually untraceable.

A rendering of four of the eight filter beds in CFPUA's new GAC filter system.
A rendering of four of the eight filter beds in CFPUA's new GAC filter system.(CFPUA)
A rendering of a cross-section showing the piping around and underneath the new GAC filters.
A rendering of a cross-section showing the piping around and underneath the new GAC filters.(CFPUA)

As exciting as that is for CFPUA and its customers, it’s been frustrating to see Chemours’ ad claiming to be a good neighbor when they wouldn’t even foot the bill to solve the problem they created. The project cost about $40 million to build and the maintenance and running of the filtration will cost another $3 million each year.

“I think it is frustrating to see Chemours, a multibillion-dollar company, spend so much money on a PR campaign but spend nothing on these filters that we’re building to deal with their PFAS,” said Hagerty. “I mean, is that what a good neighbor does?”

CFPUA has an ongoing lawsuit against Chemours that would force Chemours and Dupont to pay for the filters that are effectively cleaning up their pollution. Although it’s unknown how that lawsuit will end, one plan would place the money from resolving the lawsuit into a trust, allowing the public utility authority to either fully or partially pay off the bonds and reduce customers’ rates.

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