The State Water Infrastructure Authority has denied an application by Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for a $46.9 million grant to fund upgrades at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant to filter GenX and other PFAS compounds resulting from decades of discharges by Chemours and DuPont.
CFPUA had applied for the grant last year and was informed last week that its application was not approved.
The money was sought to pay to build new granular activated carbon (GAC) filters at Sweeney. The GAC filters emerged as the best solution for CFPUA and its customers following pilot testing of possible options, including reverse osmosis and ion exchange media.
“It is unfortunate that the state did not approve our grant application,” said CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner. “Ultimately, though, these costs should be borne by the parties responsible for the PFAS compounds affecting the water in the Cape Fear River. Similarly, these parties should be stepping forward to take responsibility for the PFAS compounds found in groundwater near our Aquifer Storage and Recovery well. These parties are Chemours and DuPont.”
If the Sweeney Plant upgrades are approved by the CFPUA Board, construction on the new GAC filters would begin in November. Operation would begin in early 2022 and is expected to cost an additional $2.9 million per year.
Revenue bonds would be sold to pay for construction. Financing these bonds and the additional operating costs are expected to result in an increase of $5 per month for the average CFPUA customer.
CFPUA has filed a federal lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont to recover these and other costs resulting from the companies’ actions.