Chemours outlines more actions to reduce PFAS

Chemours (Photo: WWAY)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Chemours has submitted several reports and other information to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that includes initial data and proposals on reducing PFAS levels from the Fayetteville Works site that reach the Cape Fear River.

The reports and information are the first piece of an emerging data set needed to determine the best approach to long-term mitigation of PFAS loading, including from ground water, thus improving the water quality in the river. The actions outlined continue the progress Chemours has already achieved in reducing emissions, including a more than 95% reduction of HFPO-DA in river water and 92% reduction in air emission of PFAS.

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This second phase of action, addressing PFAS mass entering the river from site-related sources, involves 7 recommended actions to be taken, 4 that will be completed within two years, and 3 additional that will take up to 5-years to complete.  These actions, highlighted by two actions to capture and treat groundwater-related loading sources directly at the river, will substantially reduce PFAS mass that enters the river near the Fayetteville facility through various pathways, including site outfalls, seeps and ground water sources.  The actions include:

Capture and Treat Old Outfall 002 Water – Old Outfall 002 is an older drainage channel that today collects ground water and feeds into a tributary that leads to the river.  This action will capture and treat those waters to remove targeted constituents before their release into the watershed.

Capture and Treat Ground Water from Seeps – PFAS constituents that have found their way into groundwater have the potential to migrate through porous areas of the sub terrain and exit at ground surface as a seep. This action will capture the water exiting four identified seeps for removal of PFAS.

Targeted Sediment Removal from Conveyance Network – The conveyance network is a series of ditch systems on the site through which water travels to enter the river at Current Outfall 002.  This action will remove PFAS impacted sediment from the area of the ditch system to reduce its potential to enter the river.

Develop a Storm Water Pollution Protection Plan (SWPPP) – Employ leading land management practices to reduce rain/storm-related runoff and soil erosion that could exit the facility and make their way to the river.

Targeted Storm Water Source Control and Treatment – Assess potential mass loading reductions from on-site locations and develop a targeted storm water action plan, including cleaning, repairing or replacing surfaces on site that could contain PFAS constituents to prevent their conveyance to the river.

Decommission and Replace the Remaining Portion of the Terracotta Pipe – The terracotta pipe is an older underground waste water channel, a portion of which was severed from transmitting process waste water to the site’s treatment plant in November 2017.  This action will decommission the remaining portion of the pipe and replace its use with newly constructed above-ground piping.

Assess Potential for Ground Water Intrusion into Conveyance Network – Perform an assessment for groundwater intrusion into a portion of the site’s open channel to Outfall 002 and prepare and implement action plan to mitigate identified contribution to Outfall 002 concentrations.

Addressing historic environmental contaminants is complex and requires comprehensive data set that a company or organization can use to determine its full impact on soil and ground water. Once that is collected and understood, it is used to define the most effective remediation approach. That process will often include the initiation of actions in a phased approach. This allows the remediation teams to assess the progress of certain actions and gather additional data that can provide insight into the most effective next steps.

The data gathering period for Chemours has been compressed, in accordance with the Consent Order in effect between Chemours, The North Carolina DEQ and Cape Fear River Watch, resulting in a smaller and incomplete data set upon which the company can draw conclusions to inform its action plan. Chemours is also advancing additional characterization efforts at the site to advance the selection and placement of other actions to further reduce PFAS loadings originating from the facility to the Cape Fear River. These potential additional actions will be described in the Corrective Action Plan due December 31, 2019.