Archive News from GenX Discovery

New Hanover County became aware of the presence of a compound known as GenX in the Cape Fear River in June 2017. The Chemours facility in Fayetteville was identified as the company that produces the GenX chemical for industrial processes. Since that time, New Hanover County has worked with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA), and others to understand the issue and advocate for clean and safe drinking water for residents.

Below is a news archive following the 2017 discovery of GenX in our community’s drinking water.

Archive News:

New Hanover County Updates:

Governor Roy Cooper held a meeting and press conference on Monday, July 24, 2017 to discuss GenX and water quality. Governor Cooper was joined by DEQ Secretary Michael Regan and DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. Below are details from the Governor’s visit to New Hanover County:

Meeting Notes: A summary of the Governor’s meeting with local leaders, provided by the Star News pool reporter in the meeting, can be viewed here.

Photos: View pictures taken at the beginning of the meeting and during the press briefing here.

Press Conference: Following the meeting with local leaders, the Governor held a press briefing for the media and public. The briefing can be viewed on the county’s YouTube channel.

Water Quality Action Items: Governor Cooper announced next steps that the state will take to protect drinking water and to get answers for people in our region. View a recap of those action items here.

Meeting Notes: Read a summary of the meeting, provided by the Star News pool reporter in the meeting with Chemours, here.

Photos: View pictures taken at the beginning of the meeting here.

Press Conference: Following the meeting with Chemours, local and state officials held a press conference to provide details from the meeting and answer questions from the media. A full video of Thursday’s press conference can be viewed on the county’s YouTube page.

Meeting Details

A meeting with Chemours representatives took place Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. at the New Hanover County Government Center. Meeting invitees included officials from New Hanover County, City of Wilmington, Brunswick County, Pender County, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, NC Department of Environmental Quality, and NC Department of Health and Human Services. View a press release with the meeting’s details here, and a list of invitees and attendees here.

Pool Reporter Selection

New Hanover County’s Manager provided a statement to the media regarding the selection of a pool reporter to attend the informational meeting with Chemours. You can view this statement here.

Below is a sample of questions that New Hanover County is asking The Chemours Company for the purposes of informing the public:

  • What were the conditions under the TSCA consent order granted to DuPont relative to the manufacturing, processing and distribution of GenX?  Is there an order associated with Chemours use of the chemical compound?
  • Were there any limitations under the consent order in regards to discharge of GenX?
  • What, if any, responsibility for use of the compound remained with DuPont? Or did it all transfer to Chemours?
  • Why did Chemours install abatement technology when it did?  What does it do?  If it was intended to recover or recycle GenX, why is it still showing up in the water?
  • How long does GenX last in water?  Does it stay in the same chemical form? Does it sit on the bottom of the river?
  • Did Chemours know it was discharging GenX before it installed abatement technology?
  • What systems are in place to routinely monitor discharge of GenX into the water?  Did monitoring continue after the installation of the abatement technology?
  • Do you have data that demonstrates reduction in the discharge of GenX since the abatement technology was installed?
  • Do any permits held by Chemours allow for the discharge of GenX into the river?
  • Is Chemours currently discharging GenX into the river?
  • What other materials are being discharged into the river? Are all items regulated?
  • Is there a cumulative measure of how much GenX was discharged into the river before abatement technology and since?
  • Does DuPont and/or Chemours have health and safety data on GenX and any potential health risks to the drinking water supply at different levels of concentration? Describe the toxicology of the impact to the body.
  • Does Chemours or DuPont know of any certainty or method to filter or otherwise remove GenX from the water supplies?
  • What is Chemours doing right now today and in the future to stop any GenX discharge?
  • What are Chemours and DuPont doing to advance clean-up of GenX in the water supply as of now?
  • Has DuPont and/or Chemours received any type of notification from any regulatory body involving the discharge of GenX?  If so, what are the details of this/these notification(s)?
  • Have any local governments made DuPont and/or Chemours aware of their concerns regarding the discharge of GenX?  If so, which local governments?

On June 20, 2017, five days after this initial meeting, Chemours announced that it will capture, remove & safely dispose of wastewater containing the byproduct GenX. The announcement can be viewed here. State and federal regulators have confirmed that they will continue testing water and investigating this issue.

INITIAL UPDATE: A call with The Chemours Company was convened on June 9 at the direction of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. The call included Chemours’ Products Sustainability Director, and the following local officials: New Hanover County Manager, County Attorney, Deputy County Manager, Assistant County Manager, City of Wilmington Manager, CFPUA Executive Director, County Health Director, County Chief Communications Officer, and other members of the county’s executive leadership team. This meeting was in preparation for a face-to-face meeting held with The Chemours Company in Wilmington, NC the week of June 12. Chemours technical experts were present at this meeting to respond to questions posed to the company. New Hanover County requested that NC Department of Environmental Quality attend this meeting as well.

New Hanover County sent letters to the Governor, NC Department of Environmental Quality and NC Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 regarding the discharge of GenX and other compounds into the Cape Fear River. A copy of those letters can be view below:

Communications and Outreach: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 195 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7461 • Fax 910-798-7277
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