Breaking it Down - Action vs. Inaction by Responsible Parties

Chemours:

Chemours has yet to respond with anything but their initial purposeless talking point; sign our petition.

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority:

CFPUA did not alert the public to the potentially harmful compounds making it through their water treatment system when the information became available to them and only notified customers after multiple requests from Clean Cape Fear and others. They have not yet communicated with the public any information on the 'citizens' lawsuit that they have sent notice of intent to file. However, CFPUA has taken steps at the plant:

  • CFPUA signed a contract with UNCW last week in which they allocated $64,607 to UNCW to analyze "emerging contaminants and provide a scientific basis for state and federal regulatory agencies to determine whether discharge controls would be appropriate."  They will collect samples and check for contaminants (other than GenX) in the raw and finished drinking water for 8 months. According to the contract, upon completion of the analysis,  CFPUA and UNCW will make the findings public.
  • They will continue ongoing sampling and analysis of GenX, independent of the new contract. 
  • Additionally, CFPUA has been testing granular activated carbon (GAC) technology for several weeks, and will begin ion exchange (IX) testing this week.
  • And, according to Coastal Review Online, CFPUA officials contracted Wilmington-based Catlin Engineers and Scientists (note: this is former NC General Assembly member Rick Catlin's firm) for a cost not to exceed $50,000 to to remove contaminated water from the Sweeney Water Treatment Plants Aquifer Storage and Recovery well. 

Of note: The contract to study emerging contaminants other than GenX was signed by UNCW's representative on August 21, two days before Senator Michael Lee intimated at the Environmental Review Commission that he had come up with an 'action plan' to provide funding to CFPUA and UNCW so they can test water and filtration methods.  The ERC denied a request for a motion to move forward on funding the DEQ and DHHS. 

Clean Cape Fear contacted CFPUA about funding for this work. CFPUA Assistant Communications Officer Lindsey Hallock said in an email response that, "At no point in time did CFPUA ask for funds to be diverted from DEQ or DHHS to CFPUA and UNCW.

"We continue to support all efforts by DEQ and others to ensure the Cape Fear River is a safe and reliable source of water."


It seems like CFPUA and UNCW are testing compounds and filters without the need for taxpayer funds.
DEQ and DHHS rely on state funds. 

But of course, any and all costs relating to this contamination should be reimbursed by Chemours: Sign our petition. 

The State:

The state has taken the below actions, announced in July at Gov. Cooper's press conference.

  1. Launched an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation's Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit
  2. Denied Chemours' Permit Application to release GenX and forced a new draft permit, which will include a clause authorizing the state to quickly re-open the permit if needed to regulate and enforce levels of any of other emerging compounds based on new scientific findings.
  3. Launched a Public Health Assessment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review any potential long-term health effects of GenX over the last 30+years.
  4. Engaged US EPA to move swiftly on completing their health assessment to set regulatory standards on GenX; the EPA is also looking into the consent order that presumably allowed discharge to determine necessary changes.
  5. Expanded the scope of the state Science Panel
  6. Enhance permit application process to require companies to disclose more information about the unregulated pollutants they release;  DEQ will also require additional monitoring of unregulated pollutants for the purposes of developing water quality standards and improved transparency. The results of additional monitoring will be shard with DEQ and DHHS on a regular basis.
  7. Requested immediate funding to prioritize drinking water safety by providing necessary funds to DEQ and DHHS to help DEQ handle its 2-year backlog on wastewater permits across the state and address staffing needs at both departments to ensure human and environmental health across the state. For DEQ the funds will be used to hire inspectors, engineers, environmental specialists and chemists; resources to conduct long term GenX sampling; and a reversal of this year's budget provisions that required over $1 million in budget cuts. For DHHS the request is for resources to establish a Water Health Safety Unit in the Division of Public Health that would include two senior scientists, a data analyst and a health educator.

The Legislature:

The majority of the legislature, for their part, has not taken any steps, but have instead stalled progress by refusing to push through funding for DEQ and DHHS. 

Dana SargentComment