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NCDEQ hosts public hearing on proposed wastewater permit for Chemours plant in Bladen County

Many speakers from the audience argued the permit is not tough enough.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:10 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality hosted the first of two public hearings Tuesday night on a proposed wastewater permit for the Chemours plant in Bladen County.

The proposed permit would include Chemours constructing a mile-long wall and a series of wells that would pump groundwater contaminated with PFAS into a system to be treated. It would then remove 99% of the PFAS before discharging the water into the Cape Fear river.

The permit would not allow Chemours to discharge wastewater from its manufacturing process, which was banned in 2017.

If constructed, the facility would be one of the largest in the United States.

Despite this, many speakers from the audience argued the permit is not tough enough. Several pointed out that new technology could make PFAs undetectable in contaminated water sources.

“The 99% reduction isn’t enough,” said Dana Sargent, the Executive Director of Cape Fear River Watch. “They [DEQ] need to go to full non-detect. We can’t have one more drop of PFAS in the water, and we know that technology exists that can do that, so we need DEQ to force Chemours to get that done.”

Others noted the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent statement that no levels of PFAS are safe to drink.

“I am here today to demand that DEQ does their part to stop this madness,” said Lacey Brown, an audience member. “Without improvements to this plan, 500,000 - half a million - North Carolina residents will continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of PFAS.”

PFAS exposure has been linked to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

Representatives on hand from NCDEQ said the agency will take all public comments into account before giving any permits final approval.

If you missed this meeting, an online public hearing will take place Thursday night, June 23, at 6:00 p.m.. Individuals can send comments to 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617 or by emailing publiccomments@ncdenr.gov with the subject line CHEMOURS. Access to the online public hearing can be found below.

Meeting Access: Click here for meeting WebEx link.

Event number: 2421 589 1484

Event password: NCDEQ

Audio conference: US TOLL +1-415-655-0003, Access code: 2421 589 1484

Please contact Peter Johnston if you have issues registering online at 919-707-9011 or by email peter.johnston@ncdenr.gov.

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