State environmental officials announced the publication of a proposed consent order between the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Cape Fear River Watch and Chemours. The proposed consent order is a comprehensive resolution regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination originating from Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility. It requires Chemours to dramatically reduce GenX air emissions, provide permanent replacement drinking water supplies and pay a civil penalty to DEQ.
“People deserve access to clean drinking water and this order is a significant step in our ongoing effort to protect North Carolina communities and the environment.” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “Today’s announcement advances the science and regulation of PFAS compounds and gives North Carolina families much needed relief. I appreciate the hard work of DEQ's dedicated and talented staff to help achieve this result.”
The order requires Chemours to pay to DEQ a $12 million civil penalty and an additional $1 million for investigative costs. Additional penalties will apply if Chemours fails to meet the conditions and deadlines established in the order.
The consent order includes specific conditions to ensure protection of human health and the environment. Among its many requirements, the order states that Chemours must:
- Provide permanent drinking water supplies in the form of either a public waterline connection or whole building filtration system for those with drinking water wells with GenX above 140 parts per trillion or applicable health advisory.
- Provide, install and maintain three under-sink reverse osmosis drinking water systems for well owners with combined PFAS levels above 70 parts per trillion or any individual PFAS compound above 10 parts per trillion.
- Reduce air emissions of GenX through control technology with a schedule of reduction milestones.
- By Dec. 31, 2018, complete construction of new emission controls to achieve a 92 percent reduction of facility-wide GenX compound air emissions compared to the 2017 baseline level.
- By Dec. 31, 2019, install a thermal oxidizer to control all PFAS from multiple process streams, demonstrate PFAS reductions at an effectiveness of 99.99 percent efficiency and a 99 percent reduction facility-wide for GenX emissions compared to the 2017 baseline level.
- Continue to capture all process wastewater from its operations at the facility for off-site disposal until an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is issued that authorizes discharge of process wastewater.
- Conduct health studies to determine potential health risks associated with release of PFAS compounds into the environment.
- Sample drinking water wells at least one-quarter mile beyond the closest well that had PFAS levels above 10 parts per trillion as well as annually retest wells that were previously sampled.
- Submit and implement a plan for sampling all process and non-process wastewater and stormwater streams to identify any additional PFAS.
- Submit to DEQ for approval a Corrective Action Plan that, once approved, is implemented and reduces PFAS contributions in groundwater along the Cape Fear River by at least 75 percent.
- Notify and coordinate with downstream public water utilities when an event at the facility has the potential to cause a discharge of GenX compounds into the Cape Fear River above the health goal of 140 parts per trillion.
Comments on the proposed order will be accepted until Dec. 21. Comments can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Assistant Secretary’s office, RE: Chemours Public Comments 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601.
A copy of the proposed order is available on DEQ’s website at: /genx/consent-order-11212018/download
More information about the state’s investigation can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.
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