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.

UPDATED: Brunswick County Emergency Response Aerial Mosquito Spraying Begins This Week

10.01.2018
UPDATE: The emergency response aerial spraying is now scheduled to begin Tuesday, Oct. 2, and continue during the week, weather-permitting. The areas to be sprayed on Tuesday are outlined on the map below.

Aerial spraying for mosquitoes in Brunswick County is set to begin Tuesday, Oct. 2, weather-permitting and if shipments arrive as scheduled.

County-wide aerial spraying, part of Brunswick County’s emergency response to the flooding and heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Florence, is planned to continue during the week. Citizens in the areas being sprayed should avoid being outside during evening hours if possible. Spraying will be from just before dusk till approximately 10:30 p.m., and planned routes for Oct. 2 are specified on the map (at right, or click here to view a PDF).

Crews are scheduled to begin Oct. 2 with spraying the islands of Brunswick County (including Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, Caswell Beach, and Bald Head Island), as well as areas in the western end of the County, including Calabash, Carolina Shores, Waccamaw, areas off Pireway Road, areas off Whiteville Road, and some areas along the northern part of Green Swamp Road. If weather or supply shipments delay spraying, it will begin Tuesday, Oct. 2. Exact routes are subject to change depending on conditions. The spraying will continue during the week, and all towns or cities and all islands are included in the aerial spraying.

Ground-based operations will begin follow-up ground spraying as soon as areas are identified.

Heavy rains and flooding can lead to large populations of mosquitoes. Some mosquitoes carry viruses that may cause illnesses such as La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

Brunswick County began spraying for mosquitoes with trucks on Sept. 24, while also submitting a request for an emergency aerial response for mosquito control. That aerial spraying is set to begin Oct. 2, conditions permitting.

Spraying will reduce mosquito populations but will not eliminate them entirely. Citizens can also take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and apply mosquito repellant. If using repellant with DEET, make sure to follow label instructions, and keep DEET out of the eyes, mouth and nose.