RALEIGH — Concentrations of GenX at Chemours’ wastewater discharge outfall in Fayetteville exceeded the state’s provisional drinking water health goal in late October and early November, according to preliminary water quality data the state Department of Environmental Quality received from the company this week, DEQ announced Wednesday.
DEQ has alerted county health and public water systems in the lower Cape Fear region to Chemours’ data. Officials are investigating the cause of the spike and has demanded answers from Chemours, which is supposed to be capturing GenX rather than releasing it into the Cape Fear River.
According to DEQ, Chemours told DEQ that results from water quality tests at the company’s wastewater discharge outfall in Fayetteville show concentrations of GenX were 2,400 parts per trillion for samples collected Oct. 27-30 and 290 parts per trillion for samples collected Oct. 31-Nov. 2. While the outfall is not a source of drinking water, the concentrations detected there from Oct. 27-Nov. 2 were well above the state’s provisional health goal for drinking water of 140 parts per trillion.
“This increase in GenX levels is alarming and we are demanding answers from the company so we can safeguard water for the people of North Carolina,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. “The increased discharge of these fluorinated compounds reinforces the actions we’ve taken to revoke Chemours’ wastewater discharge permit.”
A similar spike in GenX concentrations at the wastewater discharge outfall occurred three days after an Oct. 6 spill at Chemours’ facility. Chemours previously reported that on Oct. 9, concentrations of GenX at its wastewater discharge outfall were 3,700 parts per trillion. A week ago, DEQ cited Chemours for failing to report the Oct. 6 spill and moved to revoke Chemours’ wastewater discharge permit.
DEQ continues to conduct water quality monitoring at several places along the Cape Fear River and will release the results of its latest testing as soon as possible. DEQ is monitoring water quality in the lower Cape Fear to determine if future state test results reveal elevated concentrations of GenX or other fluorinated compounds at Chemours’ outfall or at finished drinking water sites downstream.