Petition calls for more action from Brunswick County after alarming water test results


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Clean water in schools is what one group want, after a report revealed Brunswick County’s Belville Elementary contained the highest level of PFAs contamination compared to other sites across the nation.

The school district said it would offer bottled drinking water, but now says it isn’t doing it forever.

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Spokesman Daniel Seamans says the report was a shock, so the school immediately responded with a statement saying they’d provide bottled water for students and they did.

They released a statement that included the following: “Until Brunswick County Government officials tell us the water is not safe to consume, BCS will operate as normal. However, we are providing the option of bottled water fro students/staff-on-site to help ease minds regarding the recent report from EWG.”

But, after speaking with county officials later that day and finding out no health advisory will be issued, they are operating as normal, according to Seamans.

“The community is ready for action,” Emily Donovan, a parent of two students that attend Belville and the co-founder of Clean Cape Fear. “So, I think this is a really good opportunity for our school board to see where they can pitch in, for our water utilities to see how they can lend a hand, for our lawkmakers to step up and work with DEQ to release funding and make sure this happens.”

“As a parent, I thought it was the right thing to do and I was really grateful,” Donovan said. “It was a good. It was a good show that they understand this is a topic that is of concern.”

Donovan has been on the front-line advocating for clean water in Brunswick county as the with Clean Cape Fear, but now, she’s stepping up as a parent.

“I would love to see the school board send a letter to DEQ requesting that DEQ reopen the consent order and require that Chemours provide the same interim water treatment solutions to surface waters downstream and to public schools that have been impacted,” Donovan said.

Donovan recently started a petition asking for that including reverse osmosis
filling stations at public schools. Even if the levels aren’t enough for a health advisory to be issued, Donovan still says something should still be done.

“I would love to see county utilities and county government actually step up and issue a drink at your own risk advisory,” Donovan said.

In a public notice, the county says the water samples remain below the EPA’s health advisory for PFOA and PFOS so it will not be issued.

“We have an EPA that doesn’t regulate these chemicals and they only have a health advisory for two and those two chemicals aren’t in commercial use today,” Donovan said.  “By other federal standards and leading toxicologists, those are considered obsolete health advisories so really we are never going to see a water advisory.”

Donovan says she is not alone. The community has responded to her group’s petition. As of Tuesday evening, it had more than 1,500 signatures.

The schools spokesman could not confirm if Belville has run out of bottled drinking water.