This afternoon, CFPUA filed a Motion to Intervene in the State of North Carolina’s lawsuit against Chemours. Last month, the State’s Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) announced it intends to settle this lawsuit with a proposed Consent Order that is currently available for public comment. The State’s lawsuit was filed in 2017.
The State alleges:
- Chemours has contaminated the Cape Fear River with fluorinated compounds (referred to as PFAS) in violation of its discharge permit and State law.
- Contamination has occurred by Chemours’ direct discharges to the river, releases to groundwater which migrates to the river, and deposition from air emissions to land and water that reach the river by surface flow.
CFPUA is seeking to intervene in the lawsuit because we believe the proposed order is not adequate to protect CFPUA’s interests or remedy CFPUA’s harms caused by Chemours’ PFAS releases to the Cape Fear River.
NCDEQ regulates dischargers to the Cape Fear River and public water suppliers. It thus regulates both Chemours and Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. Over the past year and a half, CFPUA has tried many times to get more information from NCDEQ on its planned efforts to manage Chemours PFAS releases. We have yet to receive substantive responses to our questions.
On the night before Thanksgiving, NCDEQ released a proposed consent order that would settle the State’s lawsuit against Chemours. CFPUA was not made aware of this proposed consent order before its publication, nor were we asked how it might impact CFPUA’s efforts to remove PFAS compounds from the drinking water.
On Monday, CFPUA submitted our formal comments on the proposed consent order, detailing our concerns with the proposed consent order. Our top concerns are:
- It treats downstream users of the Cape Fear River differently (and less favorably) than groundwater users near the Fayetteville Works facility.
- The proposed consent order does not adequately protect our area’s source water.
- It does not provide any assistance in treating our source water for PFAS compounds.
We believe a Motion to Intervene is necessary to ensure our concerns are fairly considered by the State of North Carolina and the Court. CFPUA should not be left to depend on its own litigation efforts in Federal Court to ensure the health of our customers is protected.
Read the full Motion to Intervene