SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — The Department of Environmental Quality is demanding Chemours pay out $198,929.16 for failing to abide by a 2019 consent order to prevent per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from reaching the Cape Fear River.
That’s less than 0.004% of the company’s sales last year.
In 2018, Cape Fear River Watch sued the DEQ to force the state regulatory agency to uphold the Clean Water Act. Cape Fear River Watch eventually intervened in the state’s lawsuit against Chemours, which settled in a consent order in 2018.
Amended last year, the consent order required Chemours to install a treatment system to remove nearly all PFAS released into the Cape Fear River. The DEQ issued Chemours a violation in January related to its apparent failure to meet permit requirements.
The DEQ is charging Chemours $38,437 for multiple violations related to onsite investigations last year and correspondence from the company. The DEQ found the company exceeded its PFMOAA limits, failed to treat 610 gallons per minute of discharge over a multiple-day period associated with heavy rainfall, and made calculation errors that resulted in reduced discharge stream treatment.
Chemours installed a treatment system on Sept. 30, 2020 that was not properly designed, according to the DEQ. The improper design led the company to fail to meet permit requirements. Though the company installed improvements, the design failure lasted until at least Dec. 6, 2020, according to the DEQ.
Over a 67-day period, Chemours accrued a $127,000 penalty, charged a $1,000 daily fine over the first week and $2,000 daily fine thereafter for the improper design.
Separately, the Division of Waste Management and the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources are seeking $38,437 and $28,492 from the company for improperly disposing excavated soil and for violations related to its groundwater treatment system.
In total, the company is being fined nearly $200,000.
Read more documents related to the consent order online.
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