BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A national study released Wednesday that showed drinking water collected at Belville Elementary School contained the highest concentration of total per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) tested out of 44 metropolitan locations has prompted a quick response out of Brunswick County Schools.
Midday Wednesday, Brunswick County Schools announced it would provide bottled water to students at Belville Elementary School, as well as all other schools in the county’s district that request it.
Related: National study ranks Brunswick County’s total PFAS highest out of 44 areas sampled [Free read]
The Environment Working Group (EWG) study ranked 44 locations tested among 31 states. A sample that ranked Brunswick County in the top spot was collected by the activist group Clean Cape Fear on Oct. 22, 2019, and analyzed by an accredited independent laboratory.
The lab tested for 30 PFAS compounds. More than 4,700 PFAS compounds are known to exist.
EWG’s results showed the PFAS tested for totaled 189 parts per trillion — more than double this concentration was recorded in May 2019 by the North Carolina Per and Polyfuoroalkyl Substances Testing (PFAST) Network, at 395 ppt. This figure was reported to the public in August 2019.
No drinking water limits exist for any individual PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set an unenforceable health advisory goal of 70 ppt of PFOA and PFOS combined. PFMOAA, a compound in the PFAS family, does not fall within this health advisory.
Since Brunswick County began consistently testing for PFMOAA in August 2019, concentrations of the compound have drastically wavered, from as high as 272 ppt on Oct. 17, 2019, to as low as 28 ppt on Dec. 20, 2019.
Read Brunswick County Schools full statement below:
“The health and safety of students and staff are always the top priority at all Brunswick County Schools. Brunswick County Government tests water quality on a weekly basis and has not issued an advisory for drinking water in our area. Until Brunswick County Government officials tell us the water is not safe to consume, BCS will operate as normal. However, we are providing the option of bottled water for students/staff on-site to help ease minds regarding the recent report from EWG. We continue to work with Brunswick County Government to make sure health and safety are at the forefront in the district and should there ever be any action necessary, we will act accordingly to ensure students and staff are in a safe, learning environment.”
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