Update on results from additional water testing for PFAS following Fayetteville Works Plant suspected sediment spill in July

08.14.2020

Update on results from additional water testing for PFAS following Fayetteville Works Plant suspected sediment spill in July (Aug. 14, 2020)

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County is sharing 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.

 PFOA + PFOS
Health Advisory Level: 70 ppt
GenX (HFPO-DA) Health Advisory Level: 140 pptTotal of all Compounds (49 compounds)
July 23 (Kings Bluff Raw Water)36.1 ppt15.7 ppt210.5277 ppt
July 24 (Kings Bluff Raw Water)17.56 ppt19.8 ppt292.461 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.

 PFOA + PFOS
Health Advisory Level: 70 ppt
GenX (HFPO-DA) Health Advisory Level: 140 pptTotal of all Compounds (49 compounds)
July 24 (Cape Fear River)18.14 ppt15.2 ppt272.1637 ppt
July 24 (Northwest Water Treatment Plant)17.55 ppt15.2 ppt237.6219 ppt

These water sample results will not result in a health advisory notice at this time. Brunswick County 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.

Brunswick County has also joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars the County is spending to install a new treatment system.

The County relies on the authority and research of federal and state agencies like the EPA, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to find answers to questions concerning PFAS’ health and environmental effects and to hold contaminators accountable for polluting drinking water sources. These agencies often have more access to certain financial and informational resources that local governments and public utilities typically do not.

More information about water quality and Brunswick County’s initiatives to install an advanced water treatment system to remove regulated and unregulated compounds from water is at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/utilities/gen-x-pfas-information/

-30-

For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email meagan.kascsak@brunswickcountync.gov

County Contact Information & Virtual Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brunswick County is urging individuals to visit our website and to call or email county departments for assistance first before visiting county offices. The County now requires appointments for in-person visits. Not sure who to contact? Call our main line and we can help direct your calls.

  • Main County Contact Information: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033

Brunswick County receives update from Chemours concerning Fayetteville Works Plant suspected sediment spill (July 26, 2020)

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County has received an update from Chemours concerning the steps it has taken to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and notify appropriate officials following its communication to regional utilities about sediment potentially entering the Cape Fear River Wednesday due to construction at its Fayetteville Works Plant.

Brunswick County is sharing the communication it received from Chemours below. Brunswick County Public Utilities already collected additional water samples both Thursday and Friday to monitor whether the suspected sediment spill resulted in any increased PFAS levels. Results can typically take a few weeks to process and return from the laboratory. Brunswick County publishes all test results on its website for transparency.

The recent update from Chemours:

Chemours is sending this update following our July 22nd and 23rd notifications concerning conditions at Fayetteville Works.  Based on additional investigation, and as detailed further below, we now believe the conditions observed were not caused by sediments from construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.

As we noted on July 22, our consultants had visually observed an apparent increase in the quantity of sediments (increased turbidity) at the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River.  At that time, based on limited information, we believed the increased turbidity may have been caused by sediments from construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.  Because of the possibility that such sediments could result in a short term increase in PFAS levels downstream, we promptly notified NCDEQ, Cape Fear River Watch, and downstream users.  This notification was made out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to be fully transparent, pending further investigation and sampling of the river.

As we noted on July 23, we collected samples seven miles downriver from Fayetteville Works and analyzed the samples at our on-site laboratory.  The results showed no detection of HFPO Dimer Acid* at a detection limit of approximately 100 parts per trillion and no detections for the other PFAS “Table 3+ Compounds” (with detection limits of 100 parts per trillion for all compounds except PEPA and NVHOS, and a detection limit of 500 parts per trillion for those two).

Based on those sampling results and further investigation, we now believe that the increased turbidity that had been observed at the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River was not caused by construction activities for the Old Outfall treatment system.  On July 23, a representative from NCDEQ inspected the area and observed that the river appeared normal and the water leaving the construction site did not exhibit increased turbidity.  The turbidity that our consultants had observed on July 22 appears to have been caused by physical conditions around the confluence of the Old Outfall and Cape Fear River, where the water drops in elevation and flows over woody debris and a silt bed.  The turbidity was more observable because of lower river levels at that time.

* HFPO Dimer Acid is another term used for the PFAS compound also known as GenX

More information about water quality and Brunswick County’s initiatives to install an advanced water treatment system to remove regulated and unregulated compounds from water is at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/utilities/gen-x-pfas-information/

-30-

For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email meagan.kascsak@brunswickcountync.gov

County Contact Information & Virtual Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brunswick County is urging individuals to visit our website and to call or email county departments for assistance first before visiting county offices. The County now requires appointments for in-person visits. Not sure who to contact? Call our main line and we can help direct your calls.

  • Main County Contact Information: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033

Brunswick County conducts additional water testing for PFAS following Chemours Fayetteville Works Plant sediment spill (July 23, 2020)

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County is testing additional water samples for per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds after Chemours notified regional utilities Wednesday evening about sediment entering the Cape Fear River due to construction at its Fayetteville Works Plant.

Brunswick County is collecting additional water samples both Thursday and Friday to monitor whether the sediment spill resulted in any increased PFAS levels. Results can typically take a few weeks to process and return from the laboratory. Brunswick County publishes all test results on its website for transparency.

According to a statement from Chemours, the sediment spill was connected to a project to construct a system to capture and treat flow in a conveyance at its Fayetteville Works Plant to reduce PFAS loadings into the Cape Fear River.

Brunswick County has conducted voluntary, weekly testing for PFAS compounds in both its raw and treated water at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant since June 2017. All water samples since that time have remained below any established health advisory levels set for certain PFAS compounds, however most PFAS compounds are unregulated at the federal and state level at this time.

Recently, 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 contractor is installing temporary construction offices and erosion and sediment control measures are now underway at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. 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.

More information about water quality and Brunswick County’s initiatives to install an advanced water treatment system to remove regulated and unregulated compounds from water is at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/utilities/gen-x-pfas-information/

-30-

For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email meagan.kascsak@brunswickcountync.gov

County Contact Information & Virtual Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brunswick County is urging individuals to visit our website and to call or email county departments for assistance first before visiting county offices. The County now requires appointments for in-person visits. Not sure who to contact? Call our main line and we can help direct your calls.

  • Main County Contact Information: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033