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By Erin Smith

The North Carolina Department of Air Quality held a public hearing on Monday night regarding modifications to Chemours Air Permit. The meeting was held in the Bladen Community College auditorium in order to receive pubic comments.

Comments are still being accepted through Friday, February 22, 2019, by emailing daq.publiccomments@ncdenr.gov. Type “Chemours 18B” into the subject line.

The evening began with NC Department of Air Quality’s Permit Engineer Heather Sands discussing the draft permit. The permit focuses solely on reducing air emissions of GenX, PFAs, and other pollutants being released by the facility.

Sands said the draft permit requires Chemours to meet a limit of 23.027 pounds of GenX per year. The permit also requires the installation of a Thermal Oxidizer/Scrubber system, carbon absorbers and to achieve a 99.9 percent reduction of emissions of all PFAs including GenX compounds.

The draft permit also calls for the company to establish a shutdown and malfunction plan, a plan for record keeping and onsite inspections and the filing of reports.

Ben Skinner, who is a former employee of Chemours, spoke during the hearing.

“I am very familiar with pressure testing of vessels,” said Skinner. “Sometimes we would use nitrogen verses air and that gives you a little easier temperature control.”

He asked the panel how that was going to be documented that the vessel and piping will be leak-tight.

“How are we going to know that equipment is that leak tight?” asked Skinner.

He also requested the panel to consider adding the requirement that the instruments monitoring the scrubbers be dual instruments and those instruments be calibrated within two percent of each other at all times.

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“If they (the instruments) fail to agree within two percent, you shut down and figure out what is wrong,” said Skinner.

He also questioned what happens if the company does not reach the proposed 99 percent limit. Skinner also recommended testing quarterly rather than annually.

“I do believe in the technology, but I am concerned for how you can prove that its (the proposed standards) being met,” said Skinner.

The next speaker was Deborah Stewart of Grays Creek.

“Our water comes from our air,” said Stewart.

She told the panel that the air, the foliage, the water, the fish and the people are all contaminated.

“So how are you going to clean up Gray’s Creek?” asked Stewart.

Also speaking was Rick Spence who asked how State officials will know rather Chemours abides with all of the requirements when regulators are no longer present on the site.

No one else spoke at the meeting.