Gov. Cooper visits Wilmington for DEQ’s announcement of an Action Strategy for PFAS

WILLMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Governor Roy Cooper visited Wilmington on Tuesday, with it being five years since the Cape Fear learned of the chemical Gen-X in area waters.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality announced its action strategy to address PFAS, also known as forever chemicals. PFAS have been found in area lakes, rivers, streams, and some sources of drinking water.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s action plan to address PFAS prioritizes protecting communities, protecting drinking water, and cleaning up existing contamination.

“Those efforts are having an impact, that there’s still a lot of work left to do. Thousands of private drinking water wells have been tested for Chemours related compounds, and well testing is underway right here in New Hanover County, along with Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender Counties,” said Elizabeth Biser, NC DEQ Secretary.

Chemours and Dupont dumped “forever chemicals” like Gen-X, into the Cape Fear River for more than 35 years.

The department of environmental quality is working with health and human services, and the secretary’s science advisory board to create a list of priority PFAS compounds prevalent in North Carolina.

“The challenge of PFAS is bigger than any one company or any one chemical. This is a statewide and a national issue, that demands our attention and our action,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

Wilmington’s Mayor Pro Tem spoke to the importance of the action strategy to the city and the cape fear region.

“I think it’s reassuring. I think people have spent a lot of money drinking bottled water, which probably isn’t any better, and putting in reverse osmosis systems. So, I think while people can’t relax now, that is on the horizon,” said Margaret Haynes, Wilmington Mayor Pro Tem.

The DEQ also plans to propose groundwater, surface water and drinking water standards for PFAS, and will begin making rules when it comes to available data. For compounds without the required data, DEQ will work with academic partners to develop the data needed to set standards.


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