Knappe: Home reverse osmosis systems show success removing GenX, other compounds

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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — The researcher who authored the study that revealed the threat of the chemical compound GenX in the Cape Fear River and the area’s drinking water says some home treatment systems show success in removing those toxins from tap water.

Dr. Detlef Knappe, a professor at NC State University, revealed the new research this evening at a GenX Forum at Brunswick Community College sponsored by WWAY, the StarNews, WHQR and H2Go.

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Knappe said he had previously told people that undersink reverse osmosis systems could help remove the toxins, but that he did so without data to back up his opinion. Tonight he showed data that supported what he believed.

According to the research conducted by Knappe’s students of home systems in southeastern North Carolina, four of five home RO systems tested removed between 95 and 99 percent of the GenX and other emerging compounds in the water. The fifth RO system showed little success, but Knappe said there could have been various issues that led to its results. The team’s research showed that systems that filter water with granulated activated carbon were far less successful.



Knappe and other panelists at the forum also pointed out that while the focus the last couple of months has been about GenX, the compound, which is used as a key ingredient in making Teflon, is only a small fraction of the so-called emerging compounds researchers have found in the Cape Fear River.

Several panelists also said the only real solution is to stop the source of the release of the contamination.

Chemours, the company that makes GenX at the Fayetteville Works site at the Cumberland-Bladen county line, has said the GenX in the river comes not from its facility that makes GenX, but from one that produces it as an unregulated byproduct in making a different chemical.

Chemours announced last month it would stop dumping GenX via wastewater into the river, though earlier this month the company found that some of the compound was still winding up in the river.