Public Notice

Public Notice

Brunswick County statement in response to Environmental Working Group January 2020 report

01.22.2020

Brunswick County began an extensive testing program for PFAS contaminants when academic studies revealed the presence of multiple PFAS in its drinking water, testing a suite of PFAS contaminants on a weekly basis. Brunswick County’s water samples have continuously remained below the EPA’s established health advisory levels for PFOA + PFOS and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ established provisional health goal for GenX, however the combined levels of all PFAS is concerning and the County continues to test and monitor for most known PFAS compounds and GenX during its routine testing.

At this time, the EPA does not have an established health goal for several of the other compounds listed in this report that are contributing to the overall 185.9 ppt sample level, however the PFOA + PFOS and GenX sample levels in this report are also below the provisional health goals mentioned above. Due to the fact that little or no study has been done on the health effects of combined PFAS or many of these individual PFAS found in the source water, Brunswick County has taken a proactive approach to install the most protective water treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove these contaminants.

Brunswick County’s leadership recognizes that high quality water is of paramount importance to our customers and residents and agree that reverse osmosis is the most effective PFAS removal technology, which is why the Board of Commissioners and county administration are embarking on a project to install an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, as well as increase capacity at the plant to support the county’s growth. Brunswick County Public Utilities has been working diligently with engineers at CDM-Smith and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to design, permit and build an economical low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the plant for the benefit of all Brunswick County water users.

Low-pressure reverse osmosis is considered one of the most advanced and effective methods to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated materials from drinking water, including GenX, 1,4-dioxane and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In April 2018, the County conducted two rounds of testing on a pilot low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The results showed that low-pressure reverse osmosis reduced most PFAS including GenX to undetectable levels, essentially removing all the components.

Not only do pilot studies indicate that low-pressure reverse osmosis is the most effective advanced treatment method for PFAS removal, but they also indicate that it is the most economical advanced treatment option for the removal of high percentages of PFAS at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. Most previous studies focus on the high-energy cost when using reverse osmosis for the treatment of saline or brackish water, but the cost is considerably less when used to treat fresh water for PFAS contaminants, especially short-chain PFAS.

All of the County’s water sample test reports are available to the public at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx/

Brunswick County would notify customers and residents should any of its test samples exceed the health advisory levels established for PFOA + PFOS or GenX.

Chairman Frank Williams

Chairman Frank Williams

Frank Williams is a small business owner and Brunswick County native who was elected Brunswick County Commissioner from District 5 on November 6, 2012, in his first run for public office.  He was elected to a second term on November 8, 2016, and was elected Chairman of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners on December 5, 2016. He currently serves as 1st Vice President of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners. He is also a member of the National Association of Counties’ International Economic Development Task Force. Frank lives in Leland with his wife, Lori.

Frank grew up in the rural community of Northwest, located ten minutes west of Leland, and is the among the fourth generation of his mother’s family to live in the community.  His first leadership role came as a teenager, when he served as a Patrol Leader in Leland’s Boy Scout Troop 265, and his first job was working as a busboy at the Sandpiper Seafood House in Leland.  He also spent two summers working in the summer student program at what was then Federal Paper Board (now International Paper) in Riegelwood.

He graduated from North Brunswick High School in 1988 and earned his undergraduate degree from N.C. State University in 1993.

Frank takes an active leadership role in the community, having served on the boards of directors of Communities in Schools of Brunswick County, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Leland Area Rotary Club.  He has also served on the Brunswick Community College Small Business Center Advisory Committee, chaired the Boy Scouts’ 2010 and 2011 fundraising breakfasts in Leland and served on the executive board of the Cape Fear Council, Boy Scouts of America.

In August 2013, then-Governor Pat McCrory appointed Frank to the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service, a role in which he served until April 2017.  He also served as chair of the General Government Steering Committee for the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, on the association’s legislative goals committee and board of directors, and as 2nd Vice President in 2018-19. Frank is a former member of the N.C. Leadership Council for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).  He was a member of Class 14 of the Brunswick Sheriff’s Citizens Academy in the Fall of 2013 and is a Spring 1996 Fellow of the N.C. Institute of Political Leadership.

Professionally, Frank is president of Pioneer Strategies, a public relations and strategic communication agency he founded in August 2001, and co-owner of Pioneer Specialties, a promotional products distributorship he and Lori co-founded in January 2019. 

Frank received both the N.C. State University Communication Alumni Circle’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award and the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40″ leadership award in 2006. He received the Cape Fear Council of Governments’ Lynwood Norris Regional Champion Award in 2015.

Frank is an avid sports fan (Go Wolfpack!) and enjoys fishing, reading, movies and relaxing on the beach.  He self-published his first novel, After the Republic, in 2015, and completed the sequel, Convergence, in late 2017. Frank and Lori attend Northside Baptist Church.

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