Chemours appeals pollutant discharge elimination permit for Fayetteville Works site

Chemours appeals pollutant discharge elimination permit for Fayetteville Works site
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Chemours announced on October 14 that they filed an appeal of the pollutant discharge elimination permit that was recently approved on September 15.

A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was approved by the North Carolina Department of Environment Quality (NCDEQ) last month for the Chemours Fayetteville Works site. The plans included a barrier wall, monitoring and management of contaminated groundwater during construction, and a GAC water treatment system, the same type which is now in use at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.

“We continue to pursue ambitious timelines to complete and start-up the system to reduce PFAS loading to the river. We are hopeful that we can work with NCDEQ to quickly resolve this matter to continue realizing the significant reductions we have been achieving,” wrote Chemours.

In the announcement, Chemours argues that the late changes to the permit compromise their ability to comply with it.

“Unfortunately, late changes to the permit as issued included future effluent limits that exceed the design basis of the proposed treatment system, giving rise to compliance uncertainty with the permit terms within the timeframe required,” wrote Chemours.

On September 15, the NCDEQ described the permit like so:

The NPDES permit includes weekly monitoring upstream and downstream of the treatment system during barrier wall construction to track progress and efficiency. It also allows for an evaluation after one year to incorporate new data and further tighten limits if appropriate. The permit can also be reopened to add limitations based on new toxicity data, introduction of federal or state PFAS standards, and if another PFAS compound breaks through the treatment system more quickly than the three current indicator parameters.

The massive remediation project is the largest of its kind to address PFAS. The system involves a mile-long underground barrier wall, more than 70 extraction wells, and the GAC treatment system to intercept and treat groundwater contaminated by years of pollution at the facility. The groundwater will be pumped and treated to ultimately remove an estimated 99.9% of PFAS compounds before being released into the river.