Local News

Wilmington residents, NC officials seek answers in toxic tap water meeting

Posted June 15, 2017 10:39 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:05 p.m. EDT

— Willmington residents and state officials demanded answers at Thursday night's meeting regarding Chemours, the manufacturing plant that has been discharging toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River for decades.

The information has caused concern of contaminated drinking water in the city of Wilmington and the surrounding area.

Chemours is a chemical manufacturing plant upstream of the Cape Fear River. As part of its operations, an unregulated compound called GenX has been released in the river, the source of water for many in the Wilmington area.

Wilmington residents, NC officials seek answers in toxic tap water meeting

"We have asked that Chemours bring this discharge to 0 percent," said Woody White, New Hanover county commission chair. "They have not committed to do so as of yet."

Local leaders want more data about GenX released from the company. Based on tests taken years ago, state officials claim the drinking water is safe.

"We believe this is a low risk situation, but we are not resting on that analysis," said Michael Regan, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality secretary.

Officials and locals want more current data immediately, meaning state workers could start collecting water samples from the Cape Fear River as soon as next week.

"The company has responded by saying that they believe they have reduced the chemical by 80 percent since 2014," Regan said.

"We are asking for proof of that, and we are asking to work with them to achieve the additional 20 percent.

The meeting between Chemours, local and state officials was closed to the public.

WRAL reached out to Chemours for a statement Thursday night and has not heard back.

While local leaders are pushing hard for answers, they are also working to relieve public anxiety.

"Based on what I had seen, in terms of the amount of the compound that is in the water, I still felt comfortable taking a sip of it earlier," said Frank Williams, Brunswick County commission chair.