Storm watch is canceled in Pender County

The Pender County Office of Emergency Management announced the storm watch was canceled.

“The storm stayed out to sea and we had no major issues,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager.

Collins said the Emergency Operations Center has resumed normal hours.

“Preparing for this tropical storm is good practice for our citizens and our emergency services,” said Collins. “While we are grateful the storm did not impact our utilities or cause flooding issues, we urge our citizens to prepare emergency kits.”

Pender County Emergency Management will continue to post updates on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

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Pender County residents urged to prepare for tropical storm

The Pender County Office of Emergency Management urged residents to prepare for a tropical storm which may bring sustained winds of 35-40 mph and wind gusts of up to 50 mph. This storm could deliver up to 5 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’re tracking this storm,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Every Pender County resident should take precautions to prepare for possible power outages. Citizens residing in low lying areas should be alert for localized flooding ”

The Pender County Office of Emergency Management urges all residents to secure lawn furniture, gas grills, and items that can be become flying debris.

Collins said residents should prepare for possible power outages.

Pender County Health Department urges residents to take this opportunity to assemble emergency supply kits which include at least one gallon of water per person, non-perishable packed or canned foods and juices, a can opener, rain gear, flashlights, a radio with fresh batteries, fully charged cell phones with an extra battery, cash, and fuel for generators. All important documents should be secured in a waterproof container. All pets should be secured.

According to the National Weather Service the tropical storm’s potential impacts include minor structural damage, large limbs and trees downed and scattered power outages.

“We urge residents to be alert in low lying areas,” said Collins. “Motorists should not cross flooded roadways with more than 4-inches of rushing water.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com.

If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

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Latest test results show GenX levels remain well below state health goal

Release: IMMEDIATE
Contact: Jamie Kritzer
Date: August, 24, 2017
Phone: 919-707-8602; 919-218-5935

Latest test results show GenX levels remain well below state health goal

RALEIGH – Concentrations of GenX in finished drinking water along the Cape Fear River remain well below the state’s health goal, according to the latest test results released today.

The results reflect conditions in the Cape Fear River for the sixth and seventh weeks of monitoring, which were the weeks of July 31 and Aug. 7. Water collected from the Cape Fear was analyzed at an Environmental Protection Agency lab in the Research Triangle Park.

“Levels of GenX continue to decline in the Cape Fear River since we were able to get the discharge stopped,” said Michael Regan, secretary for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “This is good news, and we remain vigilant with our sampling regimen and our investigation to protect water quality in the lower Cape Fear.”

All test results for finished drinking water in this round of sampling remained well below the 140 parts per trillion health goal developed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The health goal represents the concentration of GenX at which no adverse non-cancer health effects would be anticipated over an entire lifetime of exposure to the most sensitive populations.

The state DEQ began investigating the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River on June 19. That ongoing investigation along with pressure from residents and local officials prompted Chemours, the company manufacturing the unregulated chemical, to stop discharging GenX into the Cape Fear.

State water quality officials plan to continue water sampling and analysis at these sites for the foreseeable future. Sixteen monitoring wells were recently added to the sampling plan to investigate groundwater conditions at the Chemours facility in Bladen County. The state will make the results of the groundwater tests at the Chemours facility public when they are available.

An interactive map that includes sampling sites and testing data is available online at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation/genx-sampling-sites. More information on the state’s investigation is available at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.

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DEQ, DHHS share budget request to protect water, ensure long-term monitoring, analysis and enforcement

Release: IMMEDIATE
Contact: Jamie Kritzer; Chris Mackey
Date: Aug. 8, 2017
Phone: 919-707-8602; 919-855-4840

DEQ, DHHS share budget request to protect water, ensure long-term monitoring, analysis and enforcement

Since 2013, DEQ has seen approximately 70 positions eliminated that once supported the permitting, compliance and enforcement programs.

RALEIGH – In response to the ongoing investigation into the compound GenX and drinking water in the Cape Fear region, Governor Cooper announced that the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services would request critical funding to support additional scientists, engineers and health professionals to ensure water testing and protection statewide.

DEQ and DHHS have been in touch with the legislators from the affected counties and they received a letter from Secretary Mandy Cohen and Secretary Michael Regan earlier today outlining the details of the request. That letter can be read here.

“North Carolina families deserve to have confidence in their drinking water. We have deployed our experts to address the immediate concerns in the Lower Cape Fear region, but because of cuts over the last few years, long-term solutions will take more resources than our department currently has. It is critical that we have the engineers and environmental specialists necessary to put science first to protect our water,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan.

Since 2013, DEQ has seen approximately 70 positions eliminated that once supported the permitting, compliance and enforcement programs. DEQ is responsible for monitoring 38,000 miles of waterways.

“This legislation would allow DHHS to create a Water Health and Safety Unit to enhance our understanding of unregulated compounds and protect families’ drinking water,” said DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

The legislation contains appropriations to the state agencies as follows:

Water and public health; Department of Health and Human Services, $530,839

Resources to stand up a Water Health and Safety unit in the Division of Public Health that would include additional expertise specifically on water quality.

Medical risk assessor, a physician who has experience with poisoning and environmental toxicity;
PhD Toxicologist, to research and review available studies and formulate strategies to mitigate harmful health effects;
Informatics/ epidemiologist, to organize data and perform high-level analysis to arrive at causation of harm;
Health educator, to establish adequate public notifications and provide educational materials and briefings to the public.
Water quality monitoring, permitting; Department of Environmental Quality, $2,049,569

Funding for long-term water sampling for the presence of GenX by DEQ at a cost of $14,000 per week for a full year (currently the cost is being funded by the corporation and performed by the Environmental Protection Agency and private labs on a time-limited basis).
Staff for the Division of Water Resources: Already a backlog of wastewater permits exists, and the review time can take as long as two years. That’s too long for the public and industry. Adding experts would give us more thorough and timely review.
Four Engineers, three Environmental Specialists, two Environmental Senior Specialists, two Hydrogeologists, two Program Consultants, a Business Technology Analyst and two Chemist III to strengthen the Division of Water Resources so it can address unregulated compounds in the water discharge permitting program and allow more frequent sampling and faster evaluation.
These water quality scientists and experts like hydrogeologists and chemists would work with local governments to identify where contaminants occur and where they come from.
Move the permits from paper copies to an electronic database to integrate wastewater, drinking water and groundwater information and allow for easy searches.
The legislation would also direct the Environmental Review Commission to study whether there should be an exemption to the so-called “Hardison amendment” that prevents the state from enacting stricter standards than the federal government.

In the letter, Regan and Cohen ask legislators to authorize the request during the General Assembly’s September session.

 

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Hampstead solid waste site moved to 250 Transfer Station Rd.

The new Hampstead Solid Waste Convenience Site at 250 Transfer Station Rd. is now open.

“The site is located on Transfer Station Road, off US Hwy 17, is between Clayton Homes and Andrew’s Sea Lawn Memorial Park,” said Randell Woodruff, Pender County manager.

Transfer Station Road, which runs from US Hwy 17 to Country Club Drive, us a safer location for citizens to enter and exit, added Mack.

“The Pender County Board of Commissioners moved the solid waste center from US Hwy 17 to a safer location for our citizens,” said Woodruff.

The Commercial Transfer Station Scale and Scale House have been moved to the 250 Transfer Station Rd. site.

“A private developer is currently constructing the road extension,” said Woodruff. “Road construction should be complete by the fall of 2017 which will allow citizens easy exiting onto Country Club Drive.”

Both sites are now open and available for public use.

For more information regarding the new Hampstead Solid Waste Convenience Site, please call Pender County Utilities at 910-259-1570.

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Latest test results for finished drinking water show GenX below health goal

Release: IMMEDIATE
Contact: Jamie Kritzer
Date: Aug. 2, 2017
Phone: 919-707-8602

Latest test results for finished drinking water show GenX below health goal
GenX levels continue downward trend in water samples collected from Cape Fear region

RALEIGH – Concentrations of GenX in finished drinking water from the Cape Fear River continue to be below the state’s public health goal, according to the latest test results released by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

The state’s latest test results released Wednesday reflect conditions in the Cape Fear River July 17-20 when the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality completed its fifth week of testing. The state also has received partial test results for July 24, when the sixth week of testing started.

The state results for finished drinking water remained below the 140 parts per trillion health goal developed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The health goal represents the concentration of GenX at which no adverse non-cancer health effects would be anticipated over an entire lifetime of exposure to the most sensitive populations.

The state DEQ and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services began investigating the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River on June 19. That ongoing investigation along with pressure from residents and local officials prompted Chemours, the company manufacturing the unregulated chemical, to stop discharging GenX into the Cape Fear. Instead the company is collecting it and transporting it out of state for incineration.

“The good news is that levels of GenX in treated drinking water continue to be below the state’s health goal and continue to trend down since we prompted Chemours to stop releasing this compound into the river,” said Michael Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “We will continue to monitor and test water samples, and will share testing results with the public in a timely fashion.”

Water sampling and analysis will continue at finished water sites for the foreseeable future. Also, DEQ officials began this week conducting groundwater sampling to look for any concentrations of GenX in 16 monitoring wells at Chemours’ facility in Fayetteville.

DEQ has created a map on its GenX web page to better illustrate the state’s sampling results. Results may be viewed at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation/genx-sampling-sites. For more information about the state’s investigation, you can check out the GenX web page at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation.

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Governor Cooper to Visit Wilmington Monday For GenX Briefing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 21, 2017

Contact: Ford Porter

Phone: 919-814-2100

Email: govpress@nc.gov

 

Governor Cooper to Visit Wilmington Monday For GenX Briefing

 

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper will travel to Wilmington on Monday for a briefing with local leaders about GenX. Governor Cooper will be joined by DEQ Secretary Michael Regan and HHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

The briefing will take place Monday, July 24 at 9:00 AM at the New Hanover County Government Center at 230 Government Center Drive. The briefing will be followed immediately at 10:00 AM by a public briefing open to the media in the Andre Mallette Training Center in the Government Center.

Participants in the briefing will include local, state and federal elected officials; county managers; and water system officials.

At the Governor’s direction, the NC Department of Environmental Quality along with the NC Department of Health and Human Services launched an investigation on June 14 into the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River.

The Cooper administration and others got Chemours, the chemical’s manufacturer, to stop discharging GenX into the Cape Fear. As a result, initial water tests being conducted by DEQ show that levels of GenX in the water supply are trending down.  State officials continue to collect water samples, with samples being tested at an EPA lab in North Carolina and a private lab in Colorado.

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Assistance with Wildlife Problems.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Click the links below to find assistance with wildlife:

Can’t find an answer about a wildlife problem?

Call 1-866-318-2401 or visit http://www.ncwildlife.org/Have-A-Problem for more information.

NC DHHS Releases Summary of Selected Cancer Rates for Counties in Cape Fear Region

DHHS provided the summary to answer questions raised about cancer during the ongoing investigation of GenX in the Cape Fear River

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) examined data from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and shared a summary of that analysis earlier today with four local health department directors. We are now sharing this summary more broadly, but we remind the public that the data in the registry do not identify the causes of cancer. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn as to whether GenX or any other specific exposures contributed to cancer rates we examined.

Please click here for Summary.

DHHS provided the summary to answer questions raised about cancer during the ongoing investigation of GenX in the Cape Fear River. The analysis revealed that cancer rates in the four counties were generally similar to the statewide rates of pancreatic, liver, uterine, testicular and kidney cancers. There were two exceptions where the county cancer incidence rates were higher than the state and four where the incidence rates were lower.

DHHS Deputy Secretary for Health Services Mark Benton explained that the results do not point to any consistent trends in counties that get their water from the lower Cape Fear.

“Overall the results are what we would expect to see looking at multiple types of cancer in multiple counties, with some rates below and above the state rate,” said Benton. “Many factors could influence these cancer incidence rates, including prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use, diet and lifestyle choices, and many other possible exposures – none of which are addressed in the cancer registry.”

DHHS looked at the incidence of five specific cancers in Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender Counties and compared them with statewide cancer rates from 1996 to 2015. The rates of pancreatic, liver, uterine, testicular and kidney cancers were chosen for analysis because they have been associated with GenX or other perfluorinated compounds in laboratory animal studies. The incidence rates were compared to the state rates for the entire 20-year period and separately for each five-year interval therein (1996–2000, 2001–2005, 2006–2010 and 2011–2015).

The results show that county rates for these cancers were similar to state rates, with the following exceptions:

  • New Hanover County had a higher 20-year rate of testicular cancer during 1996–2015 and a higher five-year rate of liver cancers during 2006–2010 compared with the state. NOTE: Rates of both cancers in New Hanover County were similar to the state rates during the most recent period (2011-2015).
  • Brunswick County had a lower 20-year rate of pancreatic cancer during 1996–2015; a lower five-year rate of uterine cancer during 2006–2010; and a lower five-year rate of pancreatic cancer during 2011–2015 compared with the state.
  • Bladen County had a lower 20-year rate of kidney cancer during 1996–2015 compared with the state.

The Central Cancer Registry collects, processes and analyzes data on all cancer cases diagnosed among North Carolina residents to inform the planning and evaluation of cancer control efforts. The Registry does not include information about causes of cancer or associations with specific exposures. Although the information in the summary describes cancer rates in these counties over time, only a comprehensive research study can provide information about whether a specific exposure is associated with increased rates of cancer.

Facility Relocations

The Hampstead Convenience Site and the Transfer Station scales will be permanently relocated to 250 Transfer Station Road.  Beginning August 1, you will need to use these new locations.  Both of these new facilities will be adjacent to the existing Transfer Station scales located at 312 Transfer Station Road.  Operating hours will remain the same.

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