More than 300 people turned out for a community forum on GenX and drinking water at the Coastline Convention Center on Wednesday. The meeting was organized by Cape Fear River Watch, and featured six panelists on the topic.
Two scientists, a lawyer, a journalist, a pediatrician, and a river keeper – all well-versed in the GenX story – took questions from the audience for well over an hour.
Then clean water advocate Bob Bowcock was brought in via Skype from California on a large screen. Bowcock has worked with Erin Brockovich on dozens of water and environmental issues across the country.
“I will tell you, in all the communities we work with, there is always this question as to who that need to be answered knew what, when? And while those are important questions … it’s not so much a question about that when you are in this crisis mode. Let that be dissected later. Let’s get the water safe for you to drink."
Bowcock says there are options for removing GenX from the water, involving different types of carbon filtration systems. He is opposed to using the reverse osmosis system.
Kemp Burdette is of Cape Fear River Watch, and reminded the audience this problem won’t be solved quickly, and is much more than GenX.
“What we’re seeing right now is the results of under-valuing clean water for a long, long, time in this community and this country. The chickens are coming home to roost now and we need to remember this as we move forward from today. We’re not going to solve this today. We’re in a real jam here.”