RALEIGH – The state Department of Environmental Quality is expanding its efforts to halt Chemours’ “ongoing degradation” of natural resources resulting from the company’s GenX emissions, filing a revised complaint this week targeting air and groundwater contamination.
DEQ filed Monday an amended complaint and motion for preliminary injunction against the Delaware-based Chemours Co. in Bladen County Superior Court. The previous legal complaint against the company’s Fayetteville Works facility in Bladen County filed by DEQ on Sept. 7 cited violation of state groundwater rules, misrepresentation and violation of wastewater permitting disclosure requirements, and unpermitted discharge.
The state now wants to require Chemours “to control air emissions of GenX compounds; remove, treat or control all other sources of GenX compounds; and provide a full accounting of any process wastewater discharge through a drainage ditch at the site,” according to an announcement from DEQ.
“It’s time for Chemours to own up to the level of contamination they have caused to the environment in and around their Fayetteville Works facility,” DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a statement. “DEQ is using every tool available to require Chemours to clean up and stop further GenX contamination.”
As part of the state’s investigation into GenX contamination at the Bladen County facility and surrounding areas, DEQ scientists have discovered evidence that air emissions from the Chemours plant are causing widespread groundwater contamination, the release continued. The evidence led DEQ to amend the legal complaint against the company to address air emissions that are the cause of the groundwater contamination.
According to the amended complaint that expounds on the Sept. 7 action filed by DEQ alleging multiple violations of state environmental laws at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility, the state has more evidence on the extent of contamination from the release of GenX into the environment by Chemours.
“It is now evident that a primary source of surface water and groundwater contamination in and around the Fayetteville Works facility is Chemours’ ongoing emissions of GenX and related compounds into the atmosphere and the deposition of those compounds onto the land and waters of the State. … The State is entitled to injunctive relief to prevent and abate Chemours’ ongoing degradation of North Carolina’s natural resources,” the amendment states.
Monday’s court action follows a 60-day notice of intent the N.C. Division of Air Quality issued Friday to Chemours. That notice requires the company to demonstrate by April 27 that air emissions can be controlled or DEQ will no longer permit GenX air emissions.
The Division of Air Quality estimates Chemours’ annual GenX emissions to be more than 2,700 pounds, or around 40 times higher than originally reported in early 2017 and four times higher than their revised estimate submitted to the division in October 2017.