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.

Hurricane Preparation

Hurricane Preparation

Preparation Checklist

  • Is your disaster supply kit ready?
  • Gas up your vehicles.
  • Have your evacuation plan ready.
  • Secure loose items outside of your home.
  • Frequently check on the progress of the storm.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first-aid supplies, drinking water and medication.
  • Store valuables and papers in waterproof containers.
  • Secure your boat.
  • Inform loved ones as to where you will be during the storm.
  • Ensure your weather radio is in working condition.
  • Locate your local shelters.

 

Securing Your Property and Insurance

You can take low-cost mitigation measures to protect yourself and your home from losses from wind and/or flooding, including:

  • Analyze your home’s structural weaknesses
  • If you are building a new home, consider a hip roof with a pitch of 30 degrees or less
  • Install storm shutters to protect windows
  • Install braces to give additional support to garage doors
  • Plant vegetation to serve as wind breaks
  • Buy flood insurance (see below)
  • Move valuables and appliances out of the basement
  • Make sure that any flood-proofing efforts are in compliance with the minimum NFIP requirements, and with state and local building codes.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance offers tips for maximizing your personal safety and minimizing your property and financial losses, including:

  • Homeowners should review their insurance policies with their agents.
  • Flood Insurance can be obtained by qualifying property owners by contacting their local agent or through the National Flood Insurance Program (1-800-662-7048).
  • The Beach Plan is a program designed for coastal property owners. It offers coverage for for fire, lightning, wind and hail. Obtain more information by calling 1-800-662-7048 or visit http://www.ncjua-nciua.org/.
  • Residents living in rental properties should consider purchasing renter’s insurance to cover losses of personal property within the rental unit.
  • If you evacuate, take a copy of your policy with you.
    Additional tips for hurricane and storm preparation are also available at the Department of Insurance or by calling the Consumer Services Division of the Department of Insurance toll-free (in-state) at 1-800-546-5664.

Basic Emergency Supplies


The best time to assemble a 3-day disaster supply kit is well before the storm hits. Many of these are common household items. Store enough supplies for at least 3 days, and if possible, for 7 days.

  • Easy to carry water-tight container(s) (for all of your items)
  • Water – 1 gallon per person per day, along with a water purification kit or bleach
  • First aid kit and first aid book
  • Mosquito repellent and sunscreen
  • Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, like canned meats, granola bars, peanut butter, instant soup, cereals, dried fruit, powdered milk, etc.
  • Portable camp stove or grill with extra propane
  • Non-electric can opener and waterproof lighter
  • Paper plates, cups, utensils, paper towels
  • Aluminum foil, oven mits, trash bags
  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
  • Blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Battery operated alarm clock, radio and/or TV with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Essential medications (and copies of the prescriptions)
  • Bar soap, toilet articles
  • Toilet paper, feminine hygiene supplies
  • Cash and change
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes and work gloves
  • Cleaning supplies, hand tools, duct tape, rope, etc.
  • Documents, backup discs of important computer files, medical history info, photo IDs
  • Camera, books, games, cards, etc.
  • Food, water, leash and carrier for pets

Pet Safety

Pets are only allowed in specific, designated public shelters for health and space reasons, and are housed in separate locations at those shelters.

In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do for your pets is to evacuate them too. Pets are not allowed at most hotels and motels in North Carolina, so emergency arrangements for them may require careful planning.

  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Keep your pet on a leash with proper identification.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal, large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.

Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have:

  • Proper identification, including collar and rabies tag
  • Proper identification on all belongings
  • A carrier
  • A leash
  • An ample supply of food, water and food bowls
  • Any necessary medications
  • Specific care instructions
  • Newspapers or trash bags for clean-up

If you must leave your pet behind, prepare an appropriate area for it. Put the pet in a carrier in an interior closet or bathroom with plenty of water, food, toys and blankets.

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