Details of closed meeting with GenX maker slow to come together

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Details about a meeting between local leaders and the company at the center of concerns over the safety of the drinking water in southeastern North Carolina have been slow to come together.

New Hanover County announced yesterday it had organized a meeting with Chemours, which makes GenX at a plant along the Cape Fear River near the Bladen-Cumberland County line, and representatives from various local governments, water providers and state regulators. The meeting, though, will not be open to the public and will have limited representation from the news media.

“New Hanover County administration determined that attendance at Thursday’s meeting with the Chemours Company be by invitation only to ensure that a meeting takes place and that the county gets answers to the public’s questions,” New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet said in a statement e-mailed to local news editors this afternoon. “My primary objective as directed by the Board of Commissioners was to secure this meeting, and the second objective was to make the meeting as open and transparent as possible.”

Coudriet said the negotiations with Chemours failed to reach an agreement for a meeting open to members of the public who are concerned about the safety of the area’s drinking water. He said the county did reach an agreement with the company to allow one pool reporter from local news outlets to attend the meeting. Adam Wagner of the StarNews has been selected, because the newspaper broke the story last week about the toxin being found in the Cape Fear River and the water supply of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

County representatives say Wagner, who will share a full accounting of discussions during the meeting with other media outlets, including WWAY, will not be allowed to record audio, video or take pictures of the meeting, but the county says it will provide photographs and some video of the start of the meeting to local media. A news conference will be held after the meeting, but New Hanover County Chief Communications Officer Ruth Smith says representatives from Chemours will not take part.

So who else will be in the meeting? No one can say for sure yet.

WWAY asked New Hanover County who was invited and who will attend. Coudriet told WWAY he was on a call with Chemours today where the list was still being worked on.

While the meeting has been set for Thursday at the New Hanover County Government Center, a time has not yet been set.

New Hanover County has created a page on its website with information about the water issue. According to that page, here are some of the questions they hope to ask of Chemours.

  • What were the conditions under the TSCA consent order granted to DuPont relative to the manufacturing, processing and distribution of GenX?  Is there an order associated with Chemours use of the chemical compound?
  • Were there any limitations under the consent order in regards to discharge of GenX?
  • What, if any, responsibility for use of the compound remained with DuPont? Or did it all transfer to Chemours?
  • Why did Chemours install abatement technology when it did?  What does it do?  If it was intended to recover or recycle GenX, why is it still showing up in the water?
  • How long does GenX last in water?  Does it stay in the same chemical form? Does it sit on the bottom of the river?
  • Did Chemours know it was discharging GenX before it installed abatement technology?
  • What systems are in place to routinely monitor discharge of GenX into the water?  Did monitoring continue after the installation of the abatement technology?
  • Do you have data that demonstrates reduction in the discharge of GenX since the abatement technology was installed?
  • Do any permits held by Chemours allow for the discharge of GenX into the river?
  • Is Chemours currently discharging GenX into the river?
  • What other materials are being discharged into the river? Are all items regulated?
  • Is there a cumulative measure of how much GenX was discharged into the river before abatement technology and since?
  • Does DuPont and/or Chemours have health and safety data on GenX and any potential health risks to the drinking water supply at different levels of concentration? Describe the toxicology of the impact to the body.
  • Does Chemours or DuPont know of any certainty or method to filter or otherwise remove GenX from the water supplies?
  • What is Chemours doing right now today and in the future to stop any GenX discharge?
  • What are Chemours and DuPont doing to advance clean-up of GenX in the water supply as of now?
  • Has DuPont and/or Chemours received any type of notification from any regulatory body involving the discharge of GenX?  If so, what are the details of this/these notification(s)?
  • Have any local governments made DuPont and/or Chemours aware of their concerns regarding the discharge of GenX?  If so, which local governments?
Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, Pender

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