RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced Monday that it had reached a settlement with Chemours in the company’s appeal of its discharge permit requirements.
The agreement ends litigation without changing the discharge permit issued to Chemours for the treatment of contaminated groundwater to significantly reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, entering the Cape Fear River from its Fayetteville Works facility.
DEQ and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority reached an agreement with Chemours to end the litigation over the permit DEQ issued Sept. 15. Chemours filed a petition in October challenging the permit. The authority intervened to support the permit.
DEQ said the agreement does not change the final permit conditions and includes measures by which Chemours will proceed toward compliance with the final PFAS permit limits. Those limits take effect six months after discharge from the treatment system begins. In the agreement, Chemours agrees to take specific steps and provide monthly reports on its progress during the six-month optimization period. Chemours also agrees to dismiss its petition for a contested case hearing on the permit.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, NPDES, permit for the treatment system is part of the larger barrier wall remediation project to substantially reduce PFAS entering the Cape Fear River and impacting downstream communities, DEQ said.
The agency said that contaminated groundwater from the facility site currently flows untreated directly into the Cape Fear River.
The required measures will reduce the largest source of PFAS at the Chemours facility that contaminates the river and reaches downstream water intakes, officials said. The system must be operational by March 15, 2023, under the terms of the consent order under which the company operates.