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Posted on: September 17, 2020

CFPUA to State: Provide equivalent relief to all residents burdened by Chemours’ pollution

Bend in Cape Fear River

CFPUA today submitted comments on a proposed addendum to the Consent Order between the State and Chemours.

The addendum relates mainly to measures meant to address the flow of PFAS-laden groundwater and stormwater from Chemours’ industrial site into the Cape Fear River, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, including CFPUA’s customers.

Key points of CFPUA’s comments include:

  • Owners of wells with Chemours’ PFAS at concentrations of 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for any one compound or 70 ppt of all compounds (the 10/70 level) combined receive deliveries of bottled water within three days and a more permanent solution within six months – all at Chemours’ cost. 
  • The addendum proposes relief for downstream water users such as CFPUA’s customers that is neither as timely nor as certain as that provided to private well owners near Chemours’ plant. 
  • Concentrations of PFAS in CFPUA’s regular sampling of raw water from the Cape Fear River consistently exceed the 10/70 level, yet we and our customers are not afforded relief equal to what the State is enforcing for the well owners.
  • CFPUA has received no satisfactory answer when we have asked the State if the measures being proposed in the Consent Order and the Addendum will reduce PFAS concentrations in the Cape Fear River to levels the State believes is protective of human health, absent the measures CFPUA is undertaking at our ratepayers’ cost to treat our community’s drinking water.
  • Equitable treatment for CFPUA and our community should consist of:
    • Immediate, interim relief in the form of individual stipends from Chemours to downstream water users to purchase bottled water or install under-the-sink filtration systems. This is equivalent to what is provided to the private well owners.
    • Permanent relief by requiring Chemours to fully fund the upgrades currently underway at the Sweeney Plant to add Granular Activated Carbon filters to effectively treat raw water contaminated by Chemours’ PFAS and to pay for the costs to operate them.  This also is equivalent to what is provided to private well owners.

“Granting these immediate and the permanent measures should in no way relieve Chemours of its responsibility to take any of the actions stipulated in the Consent Order or the Addendum.  PFAS deposited by air emissions from Chemours’ operations are largely responsible for the contamination of the private wells.  The requirement that Chemours provide relief to the owners of those wells did not absolve the company from its responsibility to address the air emissions that caused the problem in the first place,” CFPUA’s comments state. “Likewise, providing relief to downstream water users in a timely and direct manner should not absolve Chemours from addressing the groundwater, runoff, discharge, contaminated sediment in the more than 50 miles of riverbed between Chemours and CFPUA’s intake at Kings Bluff, and other pathways sending Chemours’ PFAS into the Cape Fear River.”