CFPUA starts daily PFAS monitoring after Chemours spills sediment into river

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Cape Fear River (Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has begun daily PFAS testing after Chemours reported an increased amount of sediment was spilled into the Cape Fear River from its Fayetteville Works plant Wednesday night.

In an email sent around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Christel Compton, Fayetteville Works Environmental Manager, wrote:

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“As you know, pursuant to a Consent Order with the State of North Carolina and Cape Fear River Watch, Chemours, as part of its commitment to reduce PFAS loadings to the Cape Fear River, is constructing a system to capture and treat flow in a conveyance at its Fayetteville Works referred to as Old Outfall 002.  In connection with that construction, our consultants visually observed this afternoon an apparent increase in the quantity of sediments being carried from the mouth of Old Outfall 002 to the River.  We have ceased, pending further review, the specific construction activity that took place over the last day that we believe may have contributed to this increase.  We do not know at this time whether any increase in sediments will also result in a short term increase in PFAS levels downstream.  We initiated expedited sampling this evening to determine if a sediment increase has resulted in an increase in such PFAS levels.  We will notify you of the results of that sampling.”

CFPUA says staff was immediately mobilized Wednesday night to begin sampling raw, untreated river water to monitor PFAS levels.

CFPUA has regularly monitored PFAS levels in the Cape Fear since 2017 and publishes results online here. This sampling temporarily will be conducted daily, and updates will be provided as they become available. Analysis, which occurs at a contracted lab, typically takes two to three weeks.

Staff also have contacted officials at the NC Department of Environmental Quality for guidance on addressing the situation.