CFPUA backs decision to continue business with carbon filter supplier despite controversy


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  Clean water activists are frustrated about the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. They say the utility is buying filters from a company that is now owned by a separate corporation that pollutes the Cape Fear river.

The CFPUA has used these specific filters from Calgon Corporation for more than a decade at the Sweeney Plant. Now Calgon is owned by a company that operates out of the Fayetteville Works site where GenX originated from.

- Advertisement -

“We know it’s a good solid performer, it’s a good decision,” said Operations Director Frank Styers with the CFPUA.

Calgon Corp. creates a multitude of products including activated granular carbon water filters. CFPUA is currently negotiating prices for new filters with the Pittsburgh based company.

It was bought in September of 2017 by the Kuraray America Company. Kuraray shares facility space with Chemours and DuPont at the Fayetteville Works site.

“We can see why people may be concerned, it’s just coincidental,” said CFPUA board member Skip Watkins.

It has those in the advocacy community for clean water fired up. Clean Cape Fear taking to social media saying, “So this site creates pollution and then sells you a product to clean it up. ”

We took that question to the CFPUA and to Mr. Watkins.

“Based on information we have, Kuraray is not produced or using or manufacturing GenX or other perflourinated compounds at their Fayetteville Works facility,” said Styers. “And they make a good product. This product has been in use here for many years. And we’d like to continue that.”

“It was not an ideal situation obviously, but we have the fullest confidence in that medium cleaning our water for the citizens and rate payers at CFPUA,” said Watkins.

Our Andrew James reached out to Kuraray for comment.

A spokesperson says they have no affiliation with Chemours and DuPont, only that they utilize the same wastewater discharge site. Publicly, the NCDEQ has not penalized or disclosed that the company discharges GenX or other potentially cancerous compounds. They even went as far as singling out Chemours in their November order to the company to seize discharge and permitting Kuraray and DuPont to continue operating under the discharge permit.

Kuraray still dumps wastewater into the river. The company spokesperson could not tell us what is dumped exactly.

CFPUA board members unanimously approved replacing the filters. Styers says it will cost $1 million dollars to the utility.