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NC Soil, Water Conservation Addresses GenX

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s intake for raw water is just above Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Cape Fear River. Photo: Army Corps of Engineers.

For the first time at the state level, Soil and Water Conservation officials have formally addressed the problem of emerging synthetic compounds, agreeing to press corporate and government leaders for action to protect the public and the environment.

The North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts during its annual meeting Jan. 5-7 in Charlotte approved a resolution calling for steps and requirements related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, such as GenX, a compound manufactured by Chemours near Fayetteville that was found in 2017 in the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for Wilmington and other areas of southeastern North Carolina.

The New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors presented the Resolution Regarding GenX and Synthetic Chemicals. District board member Evan Folds attended the meeting to defend the resolution before the Water Resources Committee.

“This is an important step forward as our state level Soil and Water staff will now be lobbying state legislators to bring attention and action to the PFAS issue we are experiencing in Southeastern North Carolina,” said Folds in a statement.

The resolution requests government agencies seek guidance from the precautionary principle, or “the principle that the introduction of a new product or process whose ultimate effects are disputed or unknown should be resisted.” It also calls for state officials and corporate managers to create a list of industrial synthetic compounds that have been discharged into the environment and requests the state establish enforceable requirements banning the discharge of PFAS and allocate adequate funding to ensure oversight and compliance.

The New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District is a county organization and considered a special purpose district of the state, operating through local contracts and a mandate to educate the public and protect and enhance the quality of soil and water.

For more information, contact New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District Director Dru Harrison at drharrison@nhcgov.com or 910-798-7135.

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Staff Report

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