By Charlotte Smith
There were a lot of commitments and plans laid out at the groundbreaking ceremony held on Tuesday at the Chemours’ plant in Bladen County. The special event celebrated the construction of an Emissions Control Facility expected to assist in an over 99 percent reduction of air and water emissions.
Chemours is responsible for a large variety of products. The company has their products Opteon, Ti-Pure, and Teflon ExoElite featured in a whole host of everyday items used across the world. Vehicles, mobile phones, industrial paint, refrigerators, water protective wear, and packaging that protects food and medicine are only some of the items the chemical company has a part in making.
The local company has taken a lot of heat over the past year for emissions of C3 dimer acid (also referred to as GenX) being in the air and water in Bladen County. Today the company made an official announcement about their corporate responsibility and their commitment to reducing emissions from their products.
“We’re a new kind of chemistry company. For a world that demands more,” was written large and bright at the local manufacturing company.
Three of Chemours’ Corporate Responsibility Commitments (CRC) were mentioned by Paul Kirsch, President of Chemours Fluoroproducts during the event. The first goal Kirsch mentioned is to be carbon positive by 2030. The second goal is to reduce landfill operations. The third, and probably the most important goal in this area according to Kirsch is water quality. The objective for the water quality is to reduce air and water emission by 99% starting with, “the best in class emissions control facility right here at our Fayetteville Works site,” Kirsch stated.
“We are not going to wait until 2030 to achieve our water quality goal,” he added.
Kirsch referred to the Chemours starting on their goals before today’s formal announcement with several programs and actions which includes investing $190 million in water and air emissions management technology at its Fayetteville plant and its Dordrecht plant site.
Chairman of the Bladen County Board of Commissioners Ray Britt addressed the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony. Britt raved about the Chemours’ Fayetteville Works’ management and the new construction.
He said, “The facility will demonstrate that you can perform state of the art manufacturing with world class environmentally responsible practices. This new technology will make Fayetteville Works’ site a positive example for manufacturing worldwide and will hopefully attract more additional investments and jobs for the citizens of our communities.”
The Fayetteville Works’ Plant Manager, Brian Long, explained the Fayetteville Works’ site is currently under a production shut down. The current reduction rate for emissions is 40% year to date due to steps the plant has taken to reduce GenX and other emissions. The plant installed a second stage scrubber this week according to the manager.
“When the we start this plant up on the first week of November we will have made a 80% reduction of air emissions of GenX on an annualized basis from the 2017 annualized basis,” Long said.
Long also discussed the assistance Chemours is offering neighbors who have wells affected by the emissions. He said, “We have offered a whole house carbon filtration system to 165 residents that have wells that have been impacted,” Long added, “We have three installed and we continue to go out and install the systems free of charge. We have about 40 to 50 people on the list this far.”
Employees of the Fayetteville Works site and dignitaries broke ground at the facility’s location. The new Emissions Control Facility includes a thermal oxidizer, a thermolysis reactor and other technology that in combination is expected to result in an overall 99 percent reduction of air and water emissions of C3 dimer acid (also referred to as GenX) and other PFAS compounds by the end of 2019, according to Chemours Fayetteville Works representatives. The new facility is expected to be finished and reducing emissions by December 2019.