The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is currently accepting public comments on a draft discharge permit for a proposed groundwater treatment system at the Chemours facility that would substantially reduce PFAS entering the Cape Fear River via contaminated groundwater.
Since 2017, Chemours has been prohibited from discharging PFAS-contaminated wastewater from its plant operations into the Cape Fear River. However, historic operations at the facility have caused significant groundwater contamination at the site. Currently, this heavily contaminated groundwater flows untreated to the Cape Fear River. This groundwater may contribute over 60% of the PFAS flowing from the facility to the river. Without intervention, this untreated groundwater will continue to contaminate the river and downstream water supplies for years to come.
The Consent Order requires Chemours to address this contamination by installing an underground barrier wall that will run more than a mile alongside the Cape Fear River. This wall will intercept contaminated groundwater from the facility before it reaches the river and a series of extraction wells will pump the captured groundwater to a treatment system. The draft permit requires that the treatment system remove at least 99% of PFAS from the pumped groundwater before it enters the river. Without this treatment system and accompanying discharge permit, this heavily contaminated groundwater would continue to flow to the river untreated.