Our office continues to be in contact with officials from New Hanover County, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor reports of GenX in the Cape Fear River, help ensure that accurate data is obtained and that appropriate measures are taken based on those findings. Below is a bullet point summary of what is known so far and actions that are underway.
-The NC DEQ, in consultation with the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is leading a state investigation regarding reports of an unregulated chemical, known as GenX, in the Cape Fear River.
-The GenX found in the river is likely the byproduct of a vinyl ether process that has been taking place for 37 years.
-The last sample was taken in 2014 showing a presence of GenX.
-NC DEQ is strongly encouraging Chemours, the company that produces the chemical at its facility in Fayetteville, to identify any measures that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the discharge of GenX until the state completes its investigation.
-A Chemours official told state environmental regulators this week that the company is working to assess waste streams containing GenX and determine whether the company can reduce the amount of GenX discharged to the river.
-NC DEQ will begin collecting water samples from the Cape Fear River as early as next week to get better data.
-The first test results will likely be available four weeks after samples are received at a lab facility in Colorado, which is capable of detecting GenX in water at low concentrations. Multiple rounds of testing and analysis will be necessary for a meaningful evaluation of the water quality.
-Chemours has agreed to pay for this testing.
-The EPA is working to establish guidance on unregulated compounds, such as GenX, that North Carolina and other states can use to develop potential regulations for these types of compounds.
-DHHS has initiated daily conference calls with local health departments in the lower Cape Fear region in order to share up-to-date information.