05/21/2019
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The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) announced their department, along with the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), will move forward with an investigation into the presence of the chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River. On Tuesday, Chemours announced it is taking steps to remove and safely dispose of wastewater tainted with GenX from the Cape Fear River.

“The Chemours Company (Chemours) (NYSE: CC) today announced that it will capture, remove, and safely dispose of wastewater that contains the byproduct GenX generated from fluoromonomers production at its manufacturing plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Trace GenX amounts in the Cape Fear River to date have been well below the health screening level announced by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on June 12, 2017, and the company continues to believe that emissions from its Fayetteville facility have not impacted the safety of drinking water,” reads a company release. To read the company’s statement in its entirety, click here.

The release does not explain exactly what steps will be undertaken nor what will become of the GenX tainted wastewater. The chemical GenX, which is a chemical replacement for a key ingredient in Teflon, was found in samples taken from various points along the Cape Fear River and located downstream from the Chemours Company’s Fayetteville Works plant.

NC DEQ said it plans to begin taking water samples for testing from various points along the Cape Fear River on Thursday. The sampling is expected to continue for the next two weeks, according to state officials.

Bladen County officials announced on Friday they will test all of the county’s wells for the presence of GenX. BladenOnline.com will have those results when they become available.

NC State University Professor Detlef Knappe and his research team sounded the alarm when they were able to trace the presence of the chemical, called GenX, in the Cape Fear River from Fayetteville to Wilmington. They released their findings in an article published in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

The presence of the chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River is a case for concern because it is attributed to causing kidney and testicular cancers as well as liver damage. GenX is not a federally regulated chemical.

New Hanover and Brunswick counties take their drinking water from the Cape Fear River. The Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority pulls water from the Cape Fear River as does the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. The Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority raw water pump is located just above Lock and Dam No. 1 in Bladen County, according to their website. They can provide raw water from the Cape Fear River to Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender Counties.

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