FAYETTEVILLE – Cumberland County and State officials met Monday afternoon to discuss concerns related to GenX contamination in areas around the Chemours plant, near the Cumberland and Bladen County line, and options for providing safe water to affected residents.
Chairman Glenn Adams requested the meeting and invited Commissioners Jeannette Council, who serves on the Board of Health; Michael Boose, the County’s liaison to the Public Works Commission; interim Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Tim Kinlaw; County management and Public Health officials to attend.
State Health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson; State Epidemiologist Zack Moore; Sheila Holman, assistant secretary for the Environment with the Department of Environmental Quality; and other NCDEQ officials provided information on testing, health impacts and options for water in the area.
The state reviewed the timeline of events, which started in June 2017 when DEQ initiated the investigation into reports of GenX in the Cape Fear River. In September, the state started testing private residential wells in Cumberland and Bladen counties.
As of Monday, about 50 private wells have tested above the provisional health goal of 140 parts per trillion for GenX and the residents are receiving bottled water. Testing is ongoing in areas 1 mile from the Chemours property line and will continue in concentric circles until a “clean edge,” with no contamination, is determined.
Air quality testing is also occurring after wells and surface water, such as Marshwood Lake, north of the plant tested above the provisional health assessment goal of 140 ppt. Tilson explained that the health assessment represents the concentration of GenX at which no adverse non-cancer health effects would be anticipated over an entire lifetime to the most sensitive population, such as bottle-fed babies.
In the short-term, bottled water is being provided by Chemours to households with GenX levels above the state’s provisional health goal. State officials said the company is considering carbon filtration systems as a mid-term alternative.
The group discussed the long-term solution of providing public water in the area and considerations, such as population density and size of the lines.
“The Board of Commissioners is concerned about the potential health risks from GenX and we are monitoring the reports from the state. We want to make sure that citizens have the information they need and to that end we will be working with State officials to hold a public information session in the Gray’s Creek area in early December,” Adams said.
Residents with questions about their water may contact Bud McCarty at NCDEQ at 919-707-8202. For information on the DEQ investigation into GenX, call Jamie Kritzer at 919-707-8602. Information is available on the Cumberland County website, co.cumberland.nc.us