County: Water samples tested below PFAS state heath level after Chemours spill

BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — On Friday, Brunswick County shared information about the test results for two additional water samples staff collected in July following notification about a suspected sediment spill due to construction at the Chemours Fayetteville Works Plant Wednesday, July 22.

Brunswick County conducted additional tests for per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds on Cape Fear River water at the Kings Bluff raw water pump station July 23 and 24 to monitor for any increased PFAS levels following reports from Chemours about a potential sediment spill due to construction at its Fayetteville Works Plant.

Under current guidance, the sample results do not exceed the EPA-established health advisory level for the combined total of PFOA + PFOS set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) nor the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services-established health advisory level for GenX (HFPO-DA) set at 140 ppt.

Several factors including river flow, rainfall, point source discharges, and stormwater can all play a part in the amount of PFAS measured in the Cape Fear River, so it is not determinable if a potential sediment spill at the Fayetteville Works Plant was the only factor contributing to these levels. Brunswick County’s weekly samples of finished water have regularly fluctuated, ranging from below 50 ppt to nearly 300 ppt across samples so far collected in 2020.

Health Advisory Level: 70 ppt
GenX (HFPO-DA) Health Advisory Level: 140 ppt Total of all Compounds (49 compounds)
July 23 (Kings Bluff Raw Water) 36.1 ppt 15.7 ppt 210.5277 ppt
July 24 (Kings Bluff Raw Water) 17.56 ppt 19.8 ppt 292.461 ppt

Additionally, the county’s regularly scheduled tests of both raw water from the Cape Fear River and treated water at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant Friday, July 24 also remained below current health advisory levels.

Health Advisory Level: 70 ppt
GenX (HFPO-DA) Health Advisory Level: 140 ppt Total of all Compounds (49 compounds)
July 24 (Cape Fear River) 18.14 ppt 15.2 ppt 272.1637 ppt
July 24 (Northwest Water Treatment Plant) 17.55 ppt 15.2 ppt 237.6219 ppt

These water sample results will not result in a health advisory notice at this time. Brunswick County says they will continue to conduct voluntary, weekly testing for PFAS compounds and will publish all test results on its website for transparency. Results can typically take a few weeks to process and return from the laboratory.

Brunswick County’s regularly tests for 49 PFAS compounds in both raw water and finished water treated through the conventional water treatment system currently at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Most PFAS compounds are unregulated at the federal and state level at this time.

Brunswick County recognizes that PFAS and water quality are important issues to our water customers and residents. Individuals are encouraged to visit our Water Quality information page for answers to frequently asked questions, research on PFAS, water sample results, and ways to stay informed.

The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $122.6 million project to expand the water treatment capacity and install an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis water treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Low-pressure reverse osmosis is considered the most protective system to remove regulated and unregulated compounds like PFAS from water.

The notice to construct the project was issued June 5 to Oscar Renda Contracting, Inc. The low-pressure reverse osmosis system is estimated to begin treating water at the plant starting May 2023, with a projected completion of the full project in November 2023.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, News

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