Brunswick County files lawsuit against DuPont, Chemours

Updated: Oct. 31, 2017 at 4:15 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Chemours and DuPont are facing another lawsuit after a national law firm announced Tuesday it was filing a suit on behalf of Brunswick County.

According to a news release sent Tuesday afternoon, Baron & Budd is pursuing legal action against the chemical companies to recover costs required to investigate, manage, reduce and remove chemicals from drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River.

"Through initial investigations, Brunswick County has obtained evidence that Chemours and DuPont not only manufactured dangerous perfluorinated chemicals ("PFCs") at the Fayetteville Works plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina since 1980, but also released PFC chemicals into the Cape Fear River over the span of many years without disclosure," the news release stated. "The companies have continued to deposit PFCs into the river as recently as September 2017."

The lead litigator in the Brunswick suit, Scott Summy, filed the first methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) lawsuit against Conoco on behalf of Wilmington residents in the 1990s. That case was settled in 1997 after a Wilmington-based jury reached a multi-million verdict to cover medical monitoring costs.

"To think that DuPont and Chemours released their waste products directly into the Cape Fear River, which it knew was public drinking water for thousands of people, is unimaginable," Summy said in the release.

Brunswick County released the following statement Tuesday:

"The filing of formal legal action against Chemours and DuPont represents another crucial step in protecting our public drinking water supply. It sends a clear message that Brunswick County will simply not stand for the discharge of emerging or unregulated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. Let us be clear…we will ensure that any company that threatens this vital resource is held responsible. Furthermore, our litigation team is consulting the nation's leading experts to determine the best long-term water testing and treatment methods for the entire county. As part of that, we will ensure that the costs for doing so do not fall upon the rate payers, but upon those dumping the unregulated chemicals in the water."

The Brunswick County lawsuit is the latest legal action taken against Chemours and DuPont.

On Monday, the NC Department of Environmental Quality ordered Chemours to capture more wastewater containing GenX on the same day the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority sent a public records request to DEQ.

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