Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Group offers free under-the-sink filters for low-income New Hanover residents [Free]

Free reverse osmosis water filters are available to low-income New Hanover County residents. (Port City Daily/File photo)
Free reverse osmosis water filters are available to low-income New Hanover County residents. (Port City Daily/File photo)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The non-profit North Carolina Stop Genx in our Water has secured its first grant, allowing the group to offer free under-the-sink filters to low-income residents.

The filters are proven to nearly completely removal many per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Worth $360, under-the-sink Hydroviv filters and a replacement cartridge are available to eligible individuals that apply. Each cartridge lasts about six months, so individuals that receive the free items should have at least one year of filtered water before needing to purchase another cartridge, which costs about $50.

The non-profit has 150 filters to share with low-income residents until supplies run out. The income limit is $25,000 a year individually (not based on households) and limited to one filter per household.

Beth Kline-Markesino, founder of North Carolina Stop Genx in our Water, previously worked to alleviate the Flint water crisis when she lived in Michigan. Activists in Michigan who had been awarded a Hydroviv grant suggested the company reach out to Kline-Markesino with the opportunity. All funds were raised by the Little Miss Flint Clean Water Fund.

“I just about dropped dead on the floor,” Kline-Markesino said of receiving the company’s email. “Are you kidding? I’m so excited.”

Kline-Markesino said she is comforted by the fact that this specific filter unit has been tested by Dr. Detlef Knappe and a team of statewide researchers in February. The study revealed that of the 16 PFAS tested, the filter nearly eliminated or significantly reduced the chemicals in the water.

“If anybody is thinking, ‘I’m scared, I don’t know if it’s actually going to work — it will,” she said.

Concentrations of PFAS in finished drinking water provided by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) have dipped this year. Still, of the 42 PFAS the utility tests for, finished drinking water had 41 parts per trillion combined PFAS as of May.

Though upgrades at the plant are underway, Kline-Markesino points to public schools, which do not have immediate plans to install reverse osmosis stations by August, though the idea was discussed earlier in the year. Also, she emphasizes the cost burden the water contamination, with many health effects still unknown, should be borne by the chemical companies, not area residents.

“To have this program starting, I’m really hoping to let everybody know, hey, this problem hasn’t gone away.”

Contact Kline-Markesino at bethamarkesino@gmail.com with your name, phone number, and address to apply.

Update: This article has been corrected to remove references to reverse osmosis treatment technology. Hydroviv filters use a blend of filtration media.

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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