BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has fined Chemours nearly $200,000 for violations.
NCDEQ says this comes after Chemours “failed to meet conditions of the Consent Order and violations related to the construction and installation of the required treatment measures at Old Outfall 002 and Seep C.”
The treatment measures are required in the Consent Order to protect downstream communities by preventing residual PFAS contamination at the Fayetteville Works site from flowing into the river.
“DEQ is committed to protecting communities and their water quality and ensuring that Chemours meets all its requirements and obligations, including those under the Consent Order to prevent PFAS from entering the Cape Fear River,” Secretary Dionne Delli-Gatti said. “We will take all appropriate enforcement actions, whenever they fall short of those obligations.”
According to a news release, DEQ has notified Chemours of the following penalties:
- DEQ has demanded payment of $127,000.00 in stipulated penalties pursuant to the Consent Order based on inadequate design of the treatment system at Old Outfall 002 that become operational on September 30. This inadequate design resulted in the failure of the treatment system to consistently meet the requirements of the Consent Order and necessitated a series of design changes.
- The Division of Water Resources Civil Penalty Assessment for $38,437.16 for violations of the NPDES permit for the treatment system at old Outfall 002 include exceeding an effluent limit, failure to meet flow requirements, and improper operation and maintenance.
- The Division of Waste Management Administrative Penalty of $28,492 for improper disposal of excavated soil during the construction of the treatment system at Old Outfall 002.
- The Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources Civil Penalty Assessment of $5,000 for land-disturbance and stormwater violations related to the construction and installation of the Seep C treatment system.
The treatment system at Old Outfall 002 is currently working as intended to remove PFAS from the contaminated stream channel before it reaches the Cape Fear River. DEQ says they continue to monitor the performance of the treatment system to verify that the design improvements are sufficient to ensure ongoing compliance with the Consent Order.
The NPDES permit is limited to the treatment of the contaminated stream waters at Old Outfall 002, the release states.
Since 2017, Chemours has been and is still prohibited from discharging process wastewater.
NCDEQ says the in-stream treatment cell at Seep C is one of four interim treatment measures required under the Addendum to the Consent Order to address contaminated groundwater reaching the river. Additional seep treatment locations are scheduled to be completed by April 2021.
Copies of the penalty assessments, notices of violation, and other documents related to the Consent Order are available here.
Chemours issued the following statement in response:
“We’re in the process of reviewing the information we received from DEQ this afternoon. Chemours takes seriously our obligation to be a responsible manufacturer. We have reduced our overall site PFAS emissions by 97%, and we’re continuing to work hard to meet our remaining commitments. Throughout this entire process, we have not backed away from our responsibilities and continue to make progress with our site remediation plan, including working through operational challenges with one of the new treatment systems we installed to reduce legacy PFAS discharges to the Cape Fear River. We’ve been improving the treatment system’s ability to handle sediment loads, and have already made upgrades to allow for better solids management and overflow during heavy rains. We’re focused on additional upgrades to improve the overall robustness and reliability of this system.”