Tuesday, March 5, 2024

NCDEQ orders Chemours to expand well testing in Cape Fear region

Private wells in southeastern North Carolina may have elevated metals or fecal coliform levels following Hurricane Florence. (Port City Daily/File photo)
More private wells in the Cape Fear region will now qualify for PFAS testing, following an expanded plan by NCDEQ. (Port City Daily/file)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — More than 14,100 residents may qualify for sampling after the state directed Chemours to expand PFAS testing Wednesday.

READ MORE: Chemours will need to provide clean water to impacted New Hanover County residents under expanded DEQ order

The directive targets private drinking wells in four downstream counties: New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, and Columbus. The new regulations follow North Carolina Department of Quality’s review of Chemours’ 2022 updated interim sampling and drinking water plan.

The expansion applies to private wells within a quarter-mile of new floodplain buffers — including the Intracoastal Waterway and tributaries of the Cape Fear River — and those within a quarter-mile of public water lines. There are new requirements for biosolid land application sites as well, and eligible residents will now have access to a public water supply lawyer. 

Private well sampling will continue to be conducted by Parsons Environment and Infrastructure.

This is the second time NCDEQ has expanded its well-sampling footprint.

In November 2021, NCDEQ directed Chemours to include the testing of private wells in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. The 2019 consent order only accounted for wells in Bladen, Cumberland and Robeson counties, within an immediate vicinity of the plant. 

The company was then mandated to conduct an assessment of the groundwater contamination in communities downstream from Fayetteville Works. Chemours’ original plan for remediation was too limited and NCDEQ asked it to expand its scope with additional wells.

Those polluted with PFAS are eligible for replacement drinking water supplies — with water delivery, connection to public utilities or installation of an at-home reverse osmosis system — provided at Chemours’ expense.

Residents can qualify for replacement water supplies if they meet one of three requirements established by the 2019 consent order.

  • At or above 10 parts per trillion (ppt) of GenX; this qualifies residents for reverse osmosis units for each household sink, municipal water, or a granular activated carbon system
  • At or above 70 ppt of combined PFAS compounds listed in attachment C of the consent order, including PFMOAA, PFO3OA, and PFO4DA. This qualifies residents for three under-sink reverse osmosis systems.
  • At or above 10 ppt of individual PFAS compounds listed in the consent order, which also qualifies for three under-sink RO systems.

Residents interested in having their well sampled can complete Chemours’ online form or call the company at 910-678-1100. A representative should return the call within 24 to 48 hours of leaving a voicemail with full contact information and address.

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