Eight more well users to get bottled water after GenX tests

Posted September 27
Updated October 4

The Fayetteville Works plant in Bladen County, formerly owned by DuPont, now houses the company's chemical spinoff, Chemours.

— State regulators told the chemical company under fire for releasing GenX into the Cape Fear River to supply more nearby residents with bottled water after tests showed elevated levels of the unregulated chemical in their water.

The state Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours, the chemical firm that spun off from DuPont in 2015, began testing residential wells near the company's Bladen County plant for GenX and other related fluorinated compounds earlier this month. That sampling has so far shown that 19 wells have concentrations of GenX in their water above the state's health threshold of 140 parts per trillion.

Cape Fear River Timeline: Tracking the route of GenX in the Cape Fear River

GenX is a detergent used to make Teflon and other products and is difficult to remove from drinking water sources. Although its health effects are poorly studied in humans, it is related to a family of chemicals known to cause cancer.

"We are making sure everyone relying on private wells found to have high levels of fluorinated compounds has been supplied with bottled water," DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. "People deserve to know their water is safe, and we will continue to test residential wells near the facility and to communicate those results and what they mean to people in the community."

The state instructed Chemours to supply water to users of 11 wells last week following initial test results. The additional eight wells announced Wednesday afternoon came after the state received new results from wells tested by both regulators and the company.

The tests revealed elevated levels of GenX in wells mostly north of the facility. DEQ spokesman Jamie Kritzer said state regulators will continue to sample additional wells in the area and will also consider testing upon request.

The environmental agency, along with the state Department of Health and Human Services, will hold a community information session on the testing from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 in the Gray's Creek Elementary School gym, at 2964 School Road in Hope Mills.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers will take up the issue of GenX and other so-called emerging contaminants in the Cape Fear River at a House committee meeting Thursday morning in downtown Raleigh. The issue, now the subject of a state and federal investigation, has become sharply political since news of the contaminant's discovery in the river broke in June.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a measure from the Republican legislature to provide a fraction of the funding the governor requested to address the contaminants. Cooper said the bill would have weakened environmental protections and criticized lawmakers for failing to help undo years of cuts to DEQ and its regional regulators across the state. Republican leaders, who have said the governor has not moved quickly enough to address GenX, have vowed to override Cooper's veto.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, an agenda for Thursday's committee meeting had not been posted on the committee's website.


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