water

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has submitted its final report to the Environmental Review Commission, per the requirements of House Bill 56. That legislation appropriated funds to CFPUA and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to study which treatment techniques would remove GenX and other contaminants from the public water supply. 

The Wilmington City Council is throwing its support behind Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s request to stop production at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant.  The resolution, directed to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, asks regulators to require the company to stop all operations that produce perfluorinated compounds like GenX.  The resolution is not binding, but does send a message.

Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Residents who live near Chemours’ Bladen County plant are angry.  North Carolina state officials held their fourth community meeting last week at Bladen Community College in Dublin.  More than 150 people showed up.   

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is not happy with Chemours. Utility officials said this week they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site. That’s because they just learned regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion…  far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.  

1,4- Dioxane is in the Cape Fear River and in the drinking water supply. It’s also classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure. As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at 1,4-Dioxane in this edition of What’s in the Water? 

It’s well documented that there are a lot more questionable compounds in the Cape Fear River than GenX.  Two of those as-yet-unregulated compounds:  Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.  As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at these byproducts in this edition of What’s in the Water?

House Bill 189 made it through the House late Wednesday, freeing up funds focused on the GenX and emerging contaminants problem. It now goes to the Senate, where its future is not so bright.

A North Carolina state committee plans to address the growing threat of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear River through legislation on Wednesday.  The legislation does not include any additional funding, and that isn’t sitting well with the environmental community.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

Debbie Aitken

Lawsuits against Chemours and parent company DuPont are starting to roll in. Leland resident Victoria Carey filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont and Chemours last week after discovering GenX in her water heater. Chemours is the maker of GenX, the contaminant found in the Cape Fear River, which provides the raw water the CFPUA and the Brunswick County Utilities Department uses for drinking water. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality this week urged Chemours to stop discharging two additional chemical compounds into the Cape Fear River. EPA scientists told the state they have identified two compounds they are calling Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Congressman David Rouzer met with New Hanover County and Wilmington city officials today, to discuss issues that impact the area and the country. At the top of the list for the Republican from North Carolina’s 7th District is opioid addiction. 

GenX and the water has been burned into Wilmington’s consciousness for almost two months now. State and local agencies continue to test and analyze the region’s water supply. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.–based non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on health and the environment, just released a drinking water database. It includes data from the Cape Fear region.

The state of North Carolina is now committing resources to support the Cape Fear Region in the challenge of GenX, and toxic discharges into the river. Governor Roy Cooper detailed that commitment during his Monday visit. He also mentioned a criminal investigation into Chemours, the company responsible for the chemicals in the water supply. However, it is not an investigation yet.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week Gov. Roy Cooper told the EPA to get to work. In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Gov. Cooper asks the EPA to move quickly to finalize its health assessment and set a limit for the unregulated chemical GenX. Meanwhile the EPA earmarked more than $3 million for the NC DEQ to enforce the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This all happened as county and city officials held a press conference on the topic of GenX.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

State officials are releasing the first results of water quality samples and an updated preliminary health assessment for concentrations of the unregulated compound GenX in finished, or treated, drinking water. Samples were analyzed at the U.S. EPA lab in Research Triangle Park, and at Test America, a lab in Colorado under contract to Chemours. The latest results mirror those from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, with levels in the 68 to 125 parts per trillion range. Is that cause for celebration? Not so fast.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

One of the questions emerging from the GenX story we are covering relates to cancer rates in the region. GenX is the chemical compound first reported to be in the Cape Fear River and drinking water supply three weeks ago by the Star News. On Thursday we got an answer about cancer rates from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Monday the state began taking water samples along the Cape Fear River, to determine the current levels of GenX in the water. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will sample water from 12 locations. A lab in Colorado will then do the analysis. Once those levels are determined, scientists hope to determine what, if any, health effects GenX has had or could have on the citizens here.

Vince Winkel

On Thursday representatives from Wilmington, the counties of Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, and the state’s department of environmental quality and department of health and human services, will meet behind closed doors with the Chemours Company. That’s the company behind GenX, a chemical reported to be in the region’s water supply. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This morning, New Hanover County released a statement from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, on the possible health effects related to GenX. It says that GenX levels detected in tests three years ago in the Cape Fear River, would be expected to pose a low risk to human health. It added that there are no U.S. regulatory guideline levels for GenX. Also on Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the issue.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The chemical compound GenX and the region’s water supply remain on the minds of many. Late Monday New Hanover County officials confirmed a meeting this week to learn more about GenX, and what needs to be done. 

Isabelle Shepherd

New Hanover County and Wilmington officials say the lack of or outdated infrastructure is a barrier to business. To attract industry, board members are prioritizing infrastructure improvements.