The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is taking enforcement actions against Chemours for failing to meet conditions of the Consent Order and the NPDES wastewater discharge permit related to the treatment system installed at Old Outfall 002 in September 2020.
The treatment system is required in the Consent Order to protect downstream communities by removing residual PFAS contamination at the Fayetteville Works site that flows into the river.
The Notice of Violation (NOV) issued today identifies several instances of noncompliance. Design and operational problems in September, October, and November of 2020 resulted in violations of the Consent Order requirements to implement a fully operational system by the September 30 deadline and achieve a 99% removal efficiency. Violations of the NPDES permit include exceeding an effluent limit, failure to meet flow requirements, improper operation and maintenance, and failure to mitigate during storm events.
“DEQ is committed to holding Chemours accountable, and ensuring they meet the requirements of the Consent Order and their permit conditions at all times,” said Secretary Michael S. Regan. “DEQ will continue to take all appropriate actions, from increased oversight to enforcement, to ensure the company meets its obligations to prevent PFAS from entering the Cape Fear River.”
As of December 18, 2020, inspections and data confirmed the treatment system at Old Outfall 002 is online and working as intended to remove PFAS from the contaminated stream channel before it reaches the Cape Fear River. The NPDES permit is limited to treatment of the contaminated stream waters at Old Outfall 002. Since 2017, Chemours has been and is still prohibited from discharging process wastewater.
Earlier this month, DEQ issued an NOV for land-disturbance and stormwater violations related to the installation of the Seep C treatment system under the Consent Order. DEQ previously issued an NOV for improper disposal of excavated soil during the construction of the treatment system at Old Outfall 002.
DEQ will evaluate the responses and additional information provided by Chemours in determining the civil penalties for all of the violations cited above, as well as the assessment of the stipulated penalties under the Consent Order.
Copies of the NOVs and other documents related to the Consent Order are available here: deq.nc.gov/ChemoursConsentOrder.