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DEQ Puts New Restrictions On Chemours

RALEIGH –  The Department of Environmental Quality announced Monday that it had ordered Chemours Co. to capture additional industrial wastewater with fluorinated compounds instead of releasing it into the Cape Fear River.

The compounds were identified in an Environmental Protection Agency report that DEQ released Monday as coming from manufacturing areas inside the company’s Fayetteville Works facility.

The EPA report includes analysis of industrial process wastewater samples DEQ collected from manufacturing areas within the Fayetteville Works facility on Sept. 18. The water samples were tested for GenX, two Nafion byproducts and three other fluorinated compounds. DEQ staff worked with EPA scientists who analyzed the samples for DEQ and provided the report based on their findings.

The EPA report found that wastewater collected inside the Fayetteville Works facility’s manufacturing areas showed concentrations of GenX that ranged from 265 parts per trillion to 8,860 parts per trillion. Concentrations of Nafion byproduct 1 ranged from not being detected to 30,300 parts per trillion. For Nafion byproduct 2, the estimated concentrations ranged from 7,400 parts per trillion to 34,800 parts per trillion.

Based on the report’s findings, DEQ ordered Chemours to capture and divert the industrial process wastewater from the manufacturing areas so the wastewater can be taken out of state for incineration. Chemours will continue to capture and remove GenX from other areas inside the facility as it had been doing at DEQ’s request since last summer.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect peoples’ drinking water,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. “Based on what we learned from these test results, we required the company to stop discharging chemicals of concern identified in the facility. This is another step in our ongoing work to stop possible contaminants at their source.”

DEQ said it will take appropriate steps if the company fails to meet the state’s demands to stop releasing GenX and other fluorinated compounds into the Cape Fear River. DEQ said it continues to evaluate Chemours’ waste streams in its review of the company’s application to renew its wastewater discharge permit.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.