Information Regarding Drinking Water Quality

New Hanover County is working to ensure that the public is kept informed about the presence of GenX and any other compounds in Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s water supply and any impacts it may have on the community. View the items below to learn more about this issue and see the actions taken by the county so far.

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New Hanover County Updates:

New Hanover County Health Department Updates:

  • View public health updates here.

NCDEQ Updates:

  • View the state’s updates about drinking water quality and GenX on the NCDEQ website.

NC DHHS Updates:

CFPUA Information:

Chemours Press Release:

  • On June 20, 2017, 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 that will be held with The Chemours Company in Wilmington, NC the week of June 12. Chemours technical experts will be present at this meeting to respond to questions posed to the company. New Hanover County has requested that NC Department of Environmental Quality attend this meeting as well.

On August 31, NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released information about additional unregulated compounds in the Cape Fear River. NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  has informed CFPUA that, after consulting with the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are unable to establish a health goal for Nafion at this time, due to the fact that no health studies on the effects of Nafion could be identified. However, after reviewing the results, DHHS reiterated their guidance that the public can continue to drink the water.

On July 14, state regulators released a revised health assessment for GenX. In addition to the revised assessment, the NC DHHS has stated that people do not need to stop drinking the water, based on the scientific data they have collected. View the state’s press release here and additional clarification about GenX health risks here. A statement about water quality from DHHS can also be watched here.

On June 16, NC DHHS provided public health officials with the following statement: DHHS is continuing to work with EPA and reviewing all available science to provide partners and the public with the most current health risk information for GenX. This includes continuing to refine and update the health screening level as new information becomes available. As a reminder, health screening levels are non-regulatory, non-enforceable levels that represent the level below which no adverse health effects would be expected. Any changes to health screening levels will be shared with partners as soon as possible. Currently, there is no change in our assessment that health effects are unlikely at the levels detected in the Cape Fear River during 2013-2014.

Governor Roy Cooper held a meeting and press conference on Monday, July 24 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.

For specific questions, the public can contact CFPUA through their website or call 910-332-6550. In addition, the state and federal regulators of drinking water can be contacted at the following numbers:

  • NC Department of Environmental Quality: 1-877-623-6748
    • View the NCDEQ website for updates on their GenX investigation
  • US Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office: 1-800-241-1754

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for drinking water quality and regulates drinking water safety. Below are two helpful links with information about the EPA and drinking water requirements and safety:

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 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?

New Hanover County sent letters to the Governor, NC Department of Environmental Quality and NC Department of Health and Human Services 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