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Posted on: July 24, 2020

NCDEQ tells CFPUA it is looking into Chemours sediment incident

Bend in Cape Fear River

State regulators told CFPUA that they are looking into Chemours’s report of a release of sediment earlier this week during work related to PFAS remediation at the company’s Fayetteville Works Plant.

Wednesday evening, Chemours sent an email to CFPUA stating that PFAS remediation work at its Fayetteville Works plant apparently had sent an increased volume of sediment into the river.  CFPUA immediately began sampling raw, untreated water from the river.  This sampling will continue daily temporarily.  On Thursday morning, CFPUA sought guidance from regulators at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

In an email to CFPUA, an NCDEQ official wrote that NCDEQ staff had visited Chemours chemical manufacturing site on Thursday morning and that the river “looked normal.”  The official stated that NCDEQ staff took samples at Chemours’ Old Outfall 002 and downstream at Lock & Dam No. 3. Results of analysis on the samples will be provided to CFPUA, the NCDEQ official wrote.

Also Thursday evening, Chemours sent an email to CFPUA providing results of preliminary screening of samples it said had been taken from the Cape Fear River about seven miles downstream from the Fayetteville Works site.  Those results, based on analysis with detection limits of 100 ppt and above, were largely inconclusive.  For example, Chemours email stated that results of its screening “show no detection of HFPO Dimer Acid,” also known as GenX.  CFPUA has monitored for PFAS in the river since 2017.  GenX has been detected in every one of the many dozens of samples of raw, untreated river water.  Chemours stated in its email that samples have been sent to a private lab for higher resolution analysis.

Below is the text of an email sent at 6:46 p.m. Thursday, July 23, by Christel Compton, Fayetteville Works Environmental Manager:

“We are writing to provide an update regarding the notification we sent Wednesday evening. As we had indicated, we collected samples from the Cape Fear River near the Tar Heel Ferry Road Bridge, which is seven miles downriver from the Fayetteville Works facility. Based on river travel time, we would expect that this location would have received, by the time of our sampling, impact from the sediments that may have been released from the Old Outfall at Fayetteville Works. We analyzed the samples at our on-site laboratory, and the results show no detection of HFPO Dimer Acid at a detection limit of approximately 100 parts per trillion. There were similarly no detections for the other ‘Table 3+ Compounds’ (with detection limits of 100 parts per trillion for all compounds except PEPA and NVHOS, and a detection limit of 500 parts per trillion for those two). Duplicate samples have been sent to our third-party laboratory TestAmerica, which is able to analyze to lower detection limits, and those results are pending. As stated yesterday, please let us know if you have any questions.”