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.

Public Comment Policy

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Your County Commissioners

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Public Comment Policy

A public comment period shall be included as an item of business on the agenda at each of the regular monthly meetings of the Board of Commissioners. There will be no public comment periods held during agenda meetings, special meetings, or workshops, unless otherwise specified by the Board. All comments and suggestions to the Commissioners during the public comment period shall be subject to the following guidelines:

  1. Each person desiring to speak during the public comment period shall sign up to speak prior to the start of the meeting on the form provided at the door, by listing the speaker’s name, address and the topic on which he or she will speak. Any related documents, printed comments, or materials the speaker wishes distributed to the Commissioners shall be delivered to the County Clerk in sufficient amounts (8 copies) at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the meeting. Persons wishing simply to speak may sign up at any point before the meeting begins.
  2. A total of thirty (30) minutes shall be set aside for public comment. At the end of this time, those who signed up to speak but have not yet been recognized may be requested to hold their comments until the next meeting’s public comment period, at which time they will be given priority for expression. Alternatively, the Board, in its discretion, may extend the time allotted for public comment.
  3. Each speaker will have a maximum of three (3) minutes to speak. A speaker may not sign up to speak more than once during the same public comment period. No time may be yielded to a speaker by another speaker. To avoid repetitiveness, groups are encouraged to select a spokesperson to speak on their behalf. At the request of the Board, groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions may be asked to designate a spokesperson to speak, and the designated spokesperson may be allotted up to 8 minutes. Additional time may be allowed at the discretion of the Board.
  4. Speakers will be acknowledged to speak in the order in which their names appear on the sign-up sheet. Speakers will address the Commissioners from the lectern and begin their remarks by stating their name and address.
  5. Public comment is not intended to require the Commissioners to answer impromptu questions. Speakers should expect the Commissioners to refrain from engaging in a dialogue, except to the extent necessary to clarify the speaker’s position. The allotted time for speaking from the podium is the method to address the Board during the public comments period. The Board will not entertain questions or comments called out from the audience. The Board will not take action on an item presented during public comment. When appropriate, the Board may refer inquiries and items brought up during public comment to the County Manager for follow up.
  6. Speakers should at all times maintain proper decorum and shall make their comments in a civil manner. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. No person will be allowed to make obscene, derogatory, or slanderous remarks. Speakers will not discuss matters regarding the candidacy of any person seeking public office, including the candidacy of the person addressing the Commissioners.
DAVID R. SANDIFER BUILDING

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P.O. Box 249
Bolivia, NC
28422

(910) 253-2017
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