State seeks feedback on Chemours Consent Order Addendum

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality seeks public comment on the Addendum to the Consent Order, which requires significant additional actions by Chemours to prevent PFAS pollution from entering the Cape Fear River via contaminated groundwater from the Fayetteville Works Site. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 17.

Since 2017, DEQ actions and the Consent Order have stopped the process wastewater discharge from the facility and drastically reduced air emissions of PFAS by 99.9 percent.  The additional actions in the Addendum to the Consent Order between DEQ, Cape Fear River Watch and Chemours will further reduce the PFAS contamination to the Cape Fear River and improve water quality for downstream communities.

Moving forward, Chemours is required to treat four identified ‘seeps’ which account for more than half of the contaminated groundwater reaching the river in two phases.

  • The interim measures to filter PFAS at an efficiency of at least 80 percent from the first of the four seeps will go into effect starting by Mid-November – with all four completed by April 2021.
  • The permanent measure is the construction of a subsurface barrier wall approximately 1.5 miles long and groundwater extraction system that will remove at least 99% of PFAS to be completed by March 2023.

Chemours is also required to treat on-site stormwater that is adding residual pollution to the river with a capture and treatment system that must remove at least 99 percent of PFAS.

Failure to meet the schedules or achieve the removal goals will result in financial penalties, including:

  • Failure to meet the construction schedule for the interim measures will result in fines of $5,000 per day for the first 14 days and $10,000/day until construction is complete.
  • Failure to meet the barrier wall installation schedule results in a $150,000 fine followed by $20,000 per week until installation is complete.
  • Failure to meet the barrier wall’s 95 percent mass loading goal in the initial demonstration results in a $500,000 fine, with a $100,000 fine for failure to meet any of the four subsequent demonstrations.

Comments on the Addendum will be accepted through Sept. 17. Comments can be submitted electronically to comments.chemours@ncdenr.gov or mailed to Assistant Secretary’s Office, RE: Chemours Public Comments 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1601.

DEQ will consider the public comments before the Addendum is presented for entry by the Bladen County Superior Court.  The Addendum is available here.

DEQ orders additional PFAS reductions by Chemours

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is ordering significant additional actions by Chemours to prevent PFAS pollution from entering the Cape Fear River as the next phase of the ongoing cleanup of the contamination at the Fayetteville Works Site. These actions address more than 90% of the PFAS entering the Cape Fear River through groundwater from the residual contamination on the site.

Since 2017, DEQ actions and the Consent Order have stopped the process wastewater discharge from the facility and drastically reduced air emissions of PFAS by 99.9%. The additional actions presented today in the Addendum to the Consent Order will further reduce the PFAS contamination to the Cape Fear River and improve water quality for downstream communities.

“We have already issued significant penalties and ordered Chemours to stop actively polluting. Today’s actions lay out exactly how Chemours will clean up the residual contamination they’ve caused that continues to impact communities along the Cape Fear River,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “This level of action is unprecedented and continues to build a foundation for the Attorney General’s broader investigation of PFAS in North Carolina. As a state, we will not wait for action from the federal government to provide relief for our communities and protect our natural resources.”

Moving forward, Chemours is required to treat four identified ‘seeps’ which account for more than half of the contaminated groundwater reaching the river in two phases.

• The interim measures to filter PFAS at an efficiency of at least 80% from the first of the four seeps will go into effect starting by Mid-November – with all four completed by April 2021.
• The permanent measure is the construction of a subsurface barrier wall approximately 1.5 miles long and groundwater extraction system that will remove at least 99% of PFAS to be completed by March 2023.
Chemours is also required to treat on-site stormwater that is adding residual pollution to the river with a capture and treatment system that must remove at least 99% of PFAS.
• Failure to meet the schedules or achieve the removal goals will result in financial penalties, including:
• Failure to meet the construction schedule for the interim measures will result in fines of $5,000 per day for the first 14 days and $10,000/day until construction is complete.
• Failure to meet the barrier wall installation schedule results in a $150,000 fine followed by $20,000 per week until installation is complete.
• Failure to meet the barrier wall’s 95% mass loading goal in the initial demonstration results in a $500,000 fine, with a $100,000 fine for failure to meet any of the four subsequent demonstrations.
The Addendum to the Consent Order with the additional requirements and penalties will be provided for public comment for 30 days. The comment period will be announced next week. DEQ will consider the public comments before the Addendum is presented for entry by the Bladen County Superior Court. The Addendum is available here.

DEQ will discuss these actions during the Community Information Session at 6pm tonight.

State to host public information session by web conference, Aug. 4, regarding PFAS/GenX at Chemours’

State to host public information session by web conference on August 4 about PFAS/GenX at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will host a community information session by web conference on Tuesday, August 4, about current actions to prevent and remediate PFAS contamination at the Chemours Fayetteville Works Facility. The public is invited to participate by phone or online.

Topics will include updates on actions pertaining to the February 2019 Consent Order and drinking water well sampling results as well as updates from the divisions of Waste Management, Air Quality and Water Resources. Officials from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will also discuss the Community Involvement Plan.

Event title: GenX public information meeting
Date and Time: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6 p.m.
Phone: US TOLL +1-415-655-0003, Access code: 161 074 7124
WebEx Link:
https://ncdenrits.webex.com/ncdenrits/onstage/g.php?MTID=e7d23b731e33f5777696ce8ac08c8de4e
Event Password: GenX804

To Comment: Community members who would like to ask questions or provide comments can pre-register by completing this form at: https://bit.ly/32HIRmE, by sending an email with your name to comments.chemours@ncdenr.gov and put “August 4 public information meeting” in the subject line, or by leaving a voicemail with your name and phone number at (919) 707-8233.

Following the presentations by DEQ and DHHS representatives, community members who pre-registered will have an opportunity to ask questions. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions through a chat feature in the web conferencing software.

More information about the state’s investigation can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/hot-topics/genx-investigation. Information for residents can be found at: https://deq.nc.gov/news/key-issues/genx-investigation/genx-information-residents

Public comment accepted through Aug. 10 regarding Chemours permit to keep PFAS from the Cape Fear River

Community response accepted regarding Chemours permit to keep PFAS out of Cape Fear River

RALEIGH – The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking public comment on a draft discharge permit for a water treatment system at the Chemours Fayetteville Works site to remove PFAS contamination. Chemours is required under the terms of paragraph 12(e) of the Consent Order to reduce by at least 99% PFAS in the groundwater flowing from the site through Old Outfall 002 into the Cape Fear River and downstream intakes.

The treatment system must be operational by September 30, 2020, according to the Consent Order. The system will treat groundwater that currently discharges without treatment into the river, and it is not designed for process wastewater from the facility. Since 2017, Chemours has been prohibited from discharging process wastewater into the Cape Fear River.

DEQ will accept public comment through August 10, 2020. Comment may be submitted via email to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov (please include “Chemours” in the subject line), or by mail to:

Wastewater Permitting
Attn: Chemours Permit
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617

The draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and factsheet are available online.

The February 2019 Consent Order and related documents are available online at: https://deq.nc.gov/ChemoursConsentOrder.

DEQ requires Chemours to make revisions to its corrective action plan

RALEIGH – The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will require extensive revisions to the proposed Corrective Action Plan submitted by Chemours on December 31, 2019, due to inadequacies in the plan.

“The proposed plan is clearly deficient and fails to address the fundamental purposes of a corrective action plan,” said Michael S. Regan, DEQ Secretary. “Chemours will not receive approval from this department until they address appropriate cleanup measures for the communities impacted by the contamination and meet the terms of the Consent Order.”

The purpose of the Corrective Action Plan is to address remediation of groundwater and soil and significantly reduce PFAS flowing from onsite groundwater into surface water. As noted in the Consent Order, the corrective action plan must adhere to DEQ’s groundwater rules.

Based on initial review, the proposed Corrective Action Plan lacks a thorough technical basis, including an adequate assessment of human exposure to PFAS compounds and a thorough evaluation of on- and off-site groundwater contamination. In addition, DEQ believes the plan does not provide for appropriate remediation of on-site groundwater or off-site contamination.

In addition to internal review, DEQ provided the proposed Corrective Action Plan to the public for comment. From January 6 to April 6, DEQ received more than 1,240 public comments and DEQ staff continues to review the comments. The vast majority of the commenters believe the proposed plan from Chemours is not sufficient to address community concerns, the requirements of state law and the Consent Order. The public comments are available online here.

The February 2019 Consent Order and related documents are available online at https://deq.nc.gov/ChemoursConsentOrder.

GenX Biomonitoring Report – November 13, 2018

Here is the final report related to the biomonitoring investigation to determine if GenX and other PFAS could be detected in the blood and urine of residents living near the Fayetteville Works facility. The completed report does not share any new findings related to the information released in October. It expands on the results of the investigation conducted to improve understanding of exposure to GenX and other PFAS among people living near a manufacturing facility in Bladen County, NC. The previous press release highlighted a summary of results available here and it included a generic version of the letter sent to participants.

Link to Biomonitoring Report
https://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/oee/pfas/NCDHHS_PFAS%20Biomonitoring%20Report_8Nov2018.pdf

Link to GenX and Other PFAS Overview
https://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/oee/a_z/genx.html

DEQ issues violation notice to Chemours for unreported chemical spill

DEQ issues violation notice to Chemours for unreported chemical spill

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has cited Chemours with violating the conditions of its wastewater discharge permit because the company failed to report an Oct. 6 chemical spill at its Fayetteville Works facility.

The violation notice demands that Chemours submit within 10 days to DEQ information about the duration and quantity of the dimer acid fluoride and any other chemicals spilled, as well as a description of all actions the company took to stop the spill.

Chemours faces a possible fine for this violation, depending on the outcome of DEQ’s investigation into the spill. The Chemours permit requires that DEQ be notified within 24 hours of any discharge of significant amounts of waste that are abnormal in quantity or characteristic, as well as any non-compliance that potentially threatens public health or the environment.

DEQ questioned Chemours officials in early November after receiving preliminary data from water samples the state agency collected that indicated elevated concentrations of GenX at Chemours’ primary wastewater discharge outfall.

After being questioned by DEQ, the company admitted to DEQ that a spill had occurred four weeks earlier on Oct. 6 from a manufacturing line at the Chemours facility. The company told state officials that dimer acid fluoride, a precursor to GenX, had spilled.

“It is both unlawful and unacceptable for a company to fail to report a chemical spill to the state and public as soon as possible,” said Michael Regan, Secretary for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “We will take all appropriate enforcement action to hold Chemours accountable for failing to comply with its permit.”

By state law, Chemours must be provided an opportunity to respond to a notice of violation before a civil penalty can be assessed. DEQ will review the company’s response and any additional information the company submits before determining further enforcement.

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State seeks to stop additional chemical discharges into the Cape Fear River

State seeks to stop additional chemical discharges into the Cape Fear River
DEQ looking at all legal options to end discharge, again demands Chemours provide complete list of chemicals in waste stream 

RALEIGH – As part of its ongoing investigation, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality this week urged Chemours to stop discharging two additional chemical compounds into the Cape Fear River. The compounds were identified in the company’s waste stream by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency preliminary analysis shared with the state this week.

DEQ is looking at all legal options including going to court to get the company to stop the discharge.

At a meeting on Monday, EPA scientists told the state they have identified two compounds they are calling Nafion byproducts 1 and 2 in Chemours’ waste stream and that estimated concentrations of these compounds are not decreasing. The new information prompted DEQ to write Chemours on Tuesday urging the company to stop the release of the two compounds. DEQ also repeated its demand for Chemours to provide the state agency with a complete inventory, sampling data and test results for all chemicals included in the company’s waste stream.

Details on the EPA’s findings are included in a report shared by the federal agency with DEQ today.

“Our top priority is to protect the state’s citizens,” said Michael Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “Until we know more about the health effects of these byproducts, the company needs to stop discharging them. We’re also repeating our demand that Chemours give us information about all other chemicals in its waste stream.”

The new information is the result of the EPA’s analysis of water samples submitted by DEQ to the EPA’s lab in Research Triangle Park. Information about the presence of the Nafion byproducts comes from preliminary analysis of water samples gathered by DEQ at Chemours’ wastewater discharge outfall near Fayetteville and finished drinking water at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant in Wilmington. Scientists at the EPA lab are conducting further analysis of the water samples.

Preliminary results shared by the EPA this week also include three perfluorinated compounds that along with GenX were previously identified in the Cape Fear River by a 2016 study by the EPA and N.C. State University. Estimated concentrations of these three perfluorinated compounds dropped significantly, similar to GenX levels after the company stopped discharging GenX. For that reason, state and federal officials believe the three perfluorinated compounds were part of the same wastewater discharge that included GenX and was stopped.

The accuracy of the laboratory analysis for the five chemicals included in the EPA’s preliminary results is more uncertain than those available for GenX because calibration standards for these chemicals are not commercially available. EPA is using new non-targeted screening methods to develop concentration estimates for these five chemicals. With non-targeted screening, researchers are able to test for and identify chemicals present, rather than testing to see if a particular chemical is present. This is different from the more commonly known targeted screening, which is when researchers identify what they are looking for in the water and then test for those specific things.

State officials began investigating the presence of GenX in the river in June. That ongoing investigation along with pressure from residents and local officials prompted Chemours to stop discharging GenX from its Fayetteville facility. DEQ is now asking Chemours to stop discharge of the Nafion byproducts, which preliminary results indicate come from the company’s wastewater but are unchanged since the GenX discharge ended.

Little is known about the health effects of any of the five compounds—Nafion byproducts 1 and 2 or the three other perfluourinated compounds – included in this week’s analysis from the EPA.

Public health experts with DHHS used available studies to establish a health goal for GenX. Since the GenX discharge stopped, concentrations of GenX have dropped well below the state health goal of 140 parts per trillion. No similar health studies have been identified for the Nafion byproducts or the other three perfluorinated compounds analyzed by the EPA, so DHHS is unable to establish a health goal for them at this time.

DHHS reiterated its health guidance that the public can continue to drink the water, based on ongoing testing for GenX and other compounds for which health information is available. This guidance has not changed following the preliminary results shared by the EPA this week.

“I know how frustrating it is to all of us that we have very little scientific information about these unregulated, emerging compounds,” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. “We continue to work with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other scientists to get more information as quickly as possible.”

As part of the ongoing investigation, DEQ requested that the EPA analyze water samples for GenX and other unregulated chemical compounds included in the 2016 study conducted by the EPA and N.C. State University. Among those chemicals are the perfluorinated compounds the EPA reported this week. The EPA also chose to analyze the water samples for the Nafion byproducts based on a separate prior study by the federal agency. Specialists with the EPA’s lab in Research Triangle Park conducted the analysis using new technology and methodology and looked at water samples collected by DEQ over a six-week period starting June 19.

DEQ will review all this information as part of its investigation and the agency’s review of Chemours’ application for a new wastewater discharge permit.

The EPA informed state officials this week that it is working on a report that will include concentrations of other compounds at multiple sampling locations over multiple weeks.

As with the results for GenX, DEQ will make public test results for all the compounds when final data is available.

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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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