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DEQ requires Chemours to further expand sampling in the Lower Cape Fear area; Public meeting set for May 9 in Wilmington

Public hearing on NPDES discharge permit for proposed treatment system to be scheduled.

RALEIGH – The Department of Environmental Quality is directing Chemours to further expand drinking water well sampling in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Columbus Counties and to prioritize specific areas for immediate sampling. Chemours is required to provide alternate water supplies based on results as specified by the Consent Order.

After an extensive review of Chemours’ updated interim sampling and drinking water plan and a review of  new groundwater monitoring data in Brunswick, Pender and Columbus counties, DEQ has directed Chemours to take additional steps:

  • Prioritize the identification and expeditious sampling of private wells within ¼ mile of public water distribution lines and sanitary sewer network;
  • Prioritize the identification and expeditious sampling of private wells within ¼ mile of the detections shown in monitoring data provided by NC DEQ;
  • Provide a detailed description of the representative sampling methodology, including justification for any exclusionary criteria;
  • Provide a timeline to expeditiously complete sampling in the four counties; and
  • Increase reporting on the sampling activities from quarterly to monthly.

DEQ will host a public meeting on Monday, May 9, at the Lumina Theatre on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus to share sampling information and answer questions about well sampling in the Lower Cape Fear River area.

When: Monday, May 9, 2022 – 6:00 p.m.
Where: Lumina Theatre, Fischer Student Center
Note: Please park in Visitor Lot M (4941 Riegel Road)

On November 3, 2021, DEQ determined that Chemours is responsible for groundwater contamination in four downstream counties. The Notice required Chemours to submit a plan to assess of the groundwater contamination in New Hanover County and other affected counties that aligns with the February 2019 Consent Order and develop a drinking water well sampling plan and provide alternate drinking water.

NPDES Permit Public Hearing
In response to public requests, the Division of Water resources will schedule a public hearing on the draft discharge permit for a proposed treatment system at the Chemours facility that would substantially reduce PFAS entering the Cape Fear River via contaminated groundwater from the site. The Consent Order requires Chemours to address this contamination by installing an underground, mile-plus-long barrier wall alongside the Cape Fear River. The proposed 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 required to remove more than 99% of PFAS.

Details on the public hearing will be announced soon with the required 30 days of notice.

Information on the proposed treatment system, the reductions required by the Consent Order, and links to the draft permit documents are available here.

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