CFPUA has begun more-frequent sampling of raw water from the Cape Fear River and sought guidance from state regulators after being informed Wednesday evening by Chemours that PFAS remediation work at its Fayetteville Works plant apparently had sent an increased volume of sediment into the river.
In an email sent at 7:32 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, Christel Compton, Fayetteville Works Environmental Manager, wrote:
“As you know, pursuant to a Consent Order with the State of North Carolina and Cape Fear River Watch, Chemours, as part of its commitment to reduce PFAS loadings to the Cape Fear River, is constructing a system to capture and treat flow in a conveyance at its Fayetteville Works referred to as Old Outfall 002. In connection with that construction, our consultants visually observed this afternoon an apparent increase in the quantity of sediments being carried from the mouth of Old Outfall 002 to the River. We have ceased, pending further review, the specific construction activity that took place over the last day that we believe may have contributed to this increase. We do not know at this time whether any increase in sediments will also result in a short term increase in PFAS levels downstream. We initiated expedited sampling this evening to determine if a sediment increase has resulted in an increase in such PFAS levels. We will notify you of the results of that sampling.”
CFPUA staff immediately mobilized Wednesday night to begin sampling raw, untreated river water to monitor PFAS levels. CFPUA has regularly monitored PFAS levels in the Cape Fear since 2017 and publishes results online here. This sampling temporarily will be conducted daily, and updates will be provided as they become available. Analysis, which occurs at a contracted lab, typically takes two to three weeks.
Staff also have contacted officials at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality for guidance on addressing the situation.