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Posted on: July 25, 2020

Chemours says sediment in river “not caused by construction activities”

Bend in Cape Fear River

In an email received at 5:03 p.m. Saturday, July 25, Christel Compton, Environmental Manager at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works chemical plant, wrote:

"Chemours is sending this update following our July 22nd and 23rd notifications concerning conditions at Fayetteville Works.  Based on additional investigation, and as detailed further below, we now believe the conditions observed were not caused by sediments from construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.

"As we noted on July 22, our consultants had visually observed an apparent increase in the quantity of sediments (increased turbidity) at the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River.  At that time, based on limited information, we believed the increased turbidity may have been caused by sediments from construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.  Because of the possibility that such sediments could result in a short term increase in PFAS levels downstream, we promptly notified NCDEQ, Cape Fear River Watch, and downstream users.  This notification was made out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to be fully transparent, pending further investigation and sampling of the river.

"As we noted on July 23, we collected samples seven miles downriver from Fayetteville Works and analyzed the samples at our on-site laboratory.  The results showed no detection of HFPO Dimer Acid at a detection limit of approximately 100 parts per trillion and no detections for the other PFAS “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).

"Based on those sampling results and further investigation, we now believe that the increased turbidity that had been observed at the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River was not caused by construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.  On July 23, a representative from NCDEQ inspected the area and observed that the river appeared normal and the water leaving the construction site did not exhibit increased turbidity.  The turbidity that our consultants had observed on July 22 appears to have been caused by physical conditions around the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River, where the water drops in elevation and flows over woody debris and a silt bed.  The turbidity was more observable because of lower river levels at that time.

"Please let us know if you have any questions."

CFPUA is continuing regular monitoring of raw, untreated water from the river and will provide updates as they become available.

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