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.

Brunswick County Files Legal Action Against DuPont and Chemours for Contaminating the Cape Fear River

10.31.2017
Statement from Brunswick County

Bolivia, NC – The filing of formal legal action against Chemours and DuPont represents another crucial step in protecting our public drinking water supply. It sends a clear message that Brunswick County will simply not stand for the discharge of emerging or unregulated chemicals into our public drinking water supply. Let us be clear…we will ensure that any company that threatens this vital resource is held responsible. Furthermore, our litigation team is consulting the nation’s leading experts to determine the best long-term water testing and treatment methods for the entire county. As part of that, we will ensure that the costs for doing so do not fall upon the rate payers, but upon those dumping the unregulated chemicals in the water.


Top environmental attorneys with Baron & Budd and Seagle Law represent North Carolina county in lawsuit against chemical companies

DALLAS – Oct. 31, 2017 – Today, Brunswick County, North Carolina, took the first important step of addressing the long term contamination of the Cape Fear River by DuPont and Chemours. The national law firm of Baron & Budd announced today that it has filed suit on behalf of Brunswick County in the United States Eastern District of North Carolina against Chemours and DuPont for their role in contaminating the Cape Fear River. The firm is pursuing legal action on the County’s behalf to recover costs required to investigate, manage, reduce and remove chemicals from drinking water drawn from the Cape Fear River. Harold Seagle of North Carolina-based Seagle Law will serve as co-counsel in the case.

Through initial investigations, Brunswick County has obtained evidence that Chemours and DuPont not only manufactured dangerous perfluorinated chemicals (“PFCs”) at the Fayetteville Works plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina since 1980, but also released PFC chemicals into the Cape Fear River over the span of many years without disclosure. The companies have continued to deposit PFCs into the river as recently as September 2017.

The legal team representing Brunswick County will be led by Baron & Budd Shareholder Scott Summy, one of the most successful water contamination litigators in the U.S. Summy and the Baron & Budd team have won over $1 billion for clients facing water contamination issues. Summy also brings a lengthy track record of protecting the drinking water of North Carolina residents. In the 1990s, he filed the first MTBE lawsuit against Conoco on behalf of Wilmington residents, which was settled in 1997 after a Wilmington-based jury rendered a multi-million-dollar verdict to cover the costs of medical monitoring.

DuPont is the fourth largest chemical company in the world based on market capitalization as of 2017, and is ranked No. 117 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list. The Chemours Company was spun off by DuPont in 2015, and today, it is a publicly-traded Fortune 500 Company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

“To think that DuPont and Chemours released their waste products directly into the Cape Fear River, which it knew was public drinking water for thousands of people, is unimaginable,” said Summy. “The unfortunate challenge now facing Brunswick County is contaminated drinking water caused by the non-disclosed deposit of PFCs into the Cape Fear River. The County is dedicated to ensuring its residents’ safety and quality of life are protected, which is why it has filed a lawsuit to resolve this situation.”

ABOUT BARON & BUDD, P.C.

The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Austin, Los Angeles, and San Diego, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.


Lawsuit FAQ

Who benefits from the lawsuit that Brunswick County filed against Chemours and DuPont?

  • Brunswick County Public Utilities customers will benefit from the lawsuit. It is protecting these customers’ interests and needs.

Why did Brunswick County file a lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont?

  • Brunswick County filed suit against Chemours and DuPont to protect Brunswick County Utilities customers and their long-term water needs. State officials have not advised the County to take protective measures regarding drinking the water. Brunswick County continues to test the water weekly, and the levels of chemicals found continue to be below health goals issued by the State. The lawsuit is looking at the interests of Brunswick County’s customers in the long run and protecting customers against new and emerging chemical compounds.