New convenience centers stickers are arriving this spring

BURGAW- Pender County Solid Waste will issue new vehicle window decals this spring for resident use at the convenience centers and the Transfer Station.

“Until the new stickers arrive from the printer, Pender County Solid Waste will have a grace period for residents,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director. “Residents should continue using the last issued decals into the spring.”

Two new decals will be issued per household through the mail. Additional decals will be available for purchase at $40 each. New decals can be purchased at the Pender County Utilities office, 605 E. Fremont St. in Burgaw, or from the Hampstead Transfer Station on Tuesdays through Fridays.

Residents can pay for full-service trash disposal or recycle-only disposal for use at the county’s multiple convenience sites and the Transfer Station. The charge typically appears on resident tax bills.

Keel said residents often hesitate about affixing the decals to the windshields of vehicles, however, that is a requirement for site access. If a vehicle is traded, simply scrape a portion of the decal from the windshield and the county will replace the decal for residents. He added that if a vehicle is totaled in an accident, take a photo of the windshield and the county will replace the decal at no cost.

“We look forward to providing the new decals this spring,” said Keel.

EPA announces proposal to regulate PFAS in drinking water

DEQ provides assistance to public water systems

RALEIGH– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known to occur in drinking water. Specifically, EPA is proposing an enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS, at 4 parts per trillion (ppt), a level that can be reliably measured by most labs. The proposed rule would also regulate GenX chemicals, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS through the use of a Hazard Index calculation to determine if the combined levels of these PFAS pose a potential risk to human health. Once the proposed EPA rule becomes final, public water systems will have three years to comply with the regulation. More information on the EPA announcement and how to provide public comment is available here.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has been working with public water systems to prepare for the proposed regulation and assess PFAS levels in drinking water systems across the state. Under the Action Strategy for PFAS, DEQ is taking a whole-of-department approach to protect communities by identifying, reducing, and remediating PFAS pollution. DEQ is also utilizing federal funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help address PFAS contamination, including funding designated specifically for small, rural, and underserved communities.

“North Carolina has been leading efforts to address forever chemicals in our drinking water and today’s EPA announcement provides additional federal support and a roadmap for the public water systems in our state,” said Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “Having clear direction on national drinking water standards supports DEQ’s work with public water systems to protect the people of North Carolina.”

In late 2022, DEQ performed three months of sampling at 50 municipal and county water systems (map) identified in the 2019 PFAST Network study with PFOA/PFOS detections above the minimum reporting level indicated by the 2022 EPA interim health advisories or GenX above 10 ppt. DEQ is actively working with the systems on next steps and providing technical assistance.

Some public water systems in North Carolina are currently monitoring for PFAS voluntarily.  DEQ is also implementing plans to sample hundreds of smaller water systems that may not have that capability to better assess the levels of PFAS on a statewide basis. DEQ recommends that public water systems share their PFAS results with customers.

Beyond public water systems, DEQ has taken several actions to better identify PFAS sources and reduce emissions and discharges:

  • Requiring PFAS information from new facilities and industries and developing permit conditions as appropriate throughout the state;
  • Inventorying and prioritizing locations for additional assessment where these substances may have been manufactured, used, discharged or disposed;
  • Adding permit conditions as appropriate to address PFAS air emissions, waste generation, or wastewater discharges and require disclosure of data and additional monitoring;
  • Conducting groundwater testing and additional monitoring in areas with known or suspected PFAS contamination;
  • Requiring all solid waste sanitary landfills to include PFAS analyses of all regular groundwater, surface water and leachate samples;

DEQ continues to gather data to support setting regulatory standards and to provide technical assistance to facilities to reduce future PFAS pollution.

If you have public water, contact your water provider to find out whether they have sampled for PFAS and what steps they are taking to address PFAS.

If you are concerned about the level of PFAS in your drinking water, whether you are on a private well or public water system, you may consider adding filtration to reduce the amount of PFAS you consume. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has developed a list of filtration options, from whole house or under sink systems to pitcher of fridge filters with information on their effectiveness. NC DHHS Filtration Options and Sampling Factsheet

Additional information on PFAS is available on the DEQ website.

Pender County Library to Host Genealogist Tim Pinnick

BURGAW- On Thursday, March 16, at 6 p.m., Pender County Library will host noted genealogist and historian Tim Pinnick for a presentation entitled Exploring Your African American Cultural Heritage and Discovering Family Ties. During this hour-long presentation, Pinnick will provide instruction on research methods to further family tree research. The event will be hosted in person in the Michael Y. Taylor Meeting Room at the Main Library in Burgaw.

In addition to being a noted genealogist and historian, Pinnick is the author of the book “Finding and Using African American Newspapers” as well as more than half a dozen articles including “Using an Extended Research Project to Reconstruct a Community” which appeared in the Association for Professional Genealogists Quarterly, “Answers in African American Newspapers” written for Family Tree Magazine, and most recently “The Carnegie Medal” in NGS Magazine. In 2019, he became the coordinator and facilitator of a landmark workshop course entitled “Building an African American Research Toolbox” for the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR). He has presented papers at large history conferences including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference in 2019, along with speaking at the Federation of Genealogical Society Conferences, Ohio Genealogical Society Annual Conferences, and much more. Most recently, Pinnick is known for working with the New Hanover County Remembrance Project to shed light on the stories of the victims of the 1898 Wilmington Coup in North Carolina and track down the living descendants.

This program is presented in partnership the UNCW Office of the Arts and William Madison Randall Library as part of the NEA Big Read Cape Fear grant initiative. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The title for this year’s NEA Big Read Cape Fear is “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. Free copies of the book will be given away at the event on a first come, first served basis.

For more information or assistance, call Pender County Library at 910-259-1234 (Burgaw) or 910-270-4603 (Hampstead) during regular business hours.

Reminder:  DEQ to hold Community Meeting in Pender County on Private Well Sampling 

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a community information meeting on Tuesday, February 28, at Heide Trask Senior High School Auditorium in Rocky Point.

DEQ will share updates on private well sampling underway for PFAS contamination in Columbus, New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties.  Staff will also answer questions from the public about the private well sampling and alternate water supplies.

When:        Tuesday, February 28 at 6 p.m.

Where:      Heide Trask Senior High School
14328 NC Hwy 210, Rocky Point, NC 28457

Speaker sign-up will be available upon arrival at the meeting.

At DEQ’s direction, Chemours is sampling for PFAS contamination in eligible private drinking water wells downstream of the Fayetteville Works Facility. Chemours is required to provide alternate water supplies to residents whose wells exceed specific action levels.

To have your well sampled, call Chemours at (910) 678-1100. Messages to the Chemours call-line are monitored during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Chemours should respond within 24-to-48 hours starting on the next business day. If you don’t currently qualify for well testing, you may qualify in the future. Chemours is required to keep your contact information and notify you if testing expands to your area.

Additional well sampling information for residents, including criteria for eligible wells and other resources, are available on the DEQ website.


Pender County breaks ground on new water tower and well fields

Pictured left to right are Pender County Fire and EMS Director Everette Baysden, Pender County Utilities Director Kenny Keel, Pender County Commissioner Jerry Groves, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Jackie Newton, Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority Chairman Norwood Blanchard, Pender County Commissioner Wendi Fletcher-Hardee, and Pender County Manager David Andrews at the groundbreaking of a water infrastructure project in Scotts Hill. 


BURGAW- Pender County officials broke ground at the construction site of a new elevated water tank and well fields today.

“This infrastructure project is important to Pender County,” said Jackie Newton, Chair of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “We’re increasing the water capacity in Hampstead and Scotts Hill by approximately 750,000 gallons per day and most importantly will improve fire flow in the Scotts Hill area.”

The Pender County Utilities projects includes construction of a new 500,000-gallon elevated water tank and three well facilities.

“The tank and one well will be located adjacent to Pender EMS & Fire Station 18 in Scotts Hill,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director.

The additional two wells will be constructed adjacent to South Topsail Elementary School on Hoover Road and the existing Hampstead elevated water tank on US17 near Topsail High School.

“We are appreciative of the collaboration with Pender Fire and EMS co-location of the tank and well in Scotts Hill,” said David Andrews, Pender County manager.

The total project cost is $13,187,000 and has a scheduled completion date of May 12, 2024.

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