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.

Summer Camp Safety

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Measles, Rabies and Norovirus:

Information for Summer Camps

North Carolina summer camps provide children from all over the world both physical and educational opportunities. Ensuring a rewarding and safe camp experience is important to parents, staff, and the North Carolina Division of Public Health. North Carolina Public Health encourages camp directors to be aware of the following public health concerns.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory viral disease that is preventable by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Over 800 hundred cases of measles have been identified in the United States since the beginning of 2019.

Below are tips for camp administrators:

• Review the facts about measles. Measles is extremely contagious and causes a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes followed 3–5 days later by a rash that usually starts on the face and spreads downward.
• Know what to do when a camper or staffer falls ill. While only a physician should evaluate a patient for measles, camp staffers and administrators should understand the symptoms and have procedures in place to ensure campers receive proper medical care.
• Be able to access a record of each camper and staff member’s immunization status.
• Consider requiring all campers and staff to be vaccinated for measles or have evidence of immunity (e.g. laboratory test). Understand that if a case of measles is identified at your camp isolation of cases and quarantine of non-immune campers and staff would be required by public health.

For additional information about measles, visit the BCHS measles page.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that, while rare in humans, is almost invariably fatal. Wild mammals may be infected with rabies, and in North Carolina the virus has been found in bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, beaver, groundhogs, bobcats, coyotes and other large carnivores. People can get rabies if they are bitten by a rabid animal or if saliva from the animal gets into an open wound or into the eyes, nose or mouth.  People who are exposed to rabies should promptly receive post-exposure prophylaxis (immune globulin and vaccine series), which are 100% effective in preventing the disease.

Bats are of particular concern because bat bites are small and exposures may go unnoticed. Exposures of concern include any direct contact with a bat and when a bat is found in the same room as a person who may not be aware that contact has occurred (e.g., a sleeping person awakens to find a bat in the room, or an adult witnesses a bat in the room with a previously unattended child or mentally disabled or inebriated person). Finding a bat in a cabin can result in large numbers of campers and staff being referred for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis with extensive risk assessments and investigations conducted by local and state health departments.

Information on bats and rabies

Visit the CDC: Bats and Rabies webpage for more information.

Information on rabies prevention and control in North Carolina

Click on the image below to view the NC Rabies Control Manual

Inspection criteria to ensure summer camp buildings are bat proof

Click on the image below to view the checklist.

Guidance on bat-proofing buildings at camps

Click on the image below to view the full factsheet.

Wildlife Damage Control Agents (professionals that can be hired to exclude bats and wildlife)

 A list of professional Wildlife Damage Control Agents can be found on the Wildlife Resources Commission website. 

Information about medical care after an animal bite or rabies exposure

For information about medical care after an animal bite or rabies exposure, visit the CDC Wound Care and Rabies Post-exposure Prophylaxis webpage.

Norovirus

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. Fortunately, most people recover without needing medical attention. Reports of norovirus outbreaks in summer camps are not unusual since the virus survives well in the environment and is especially easy to transmit in close quarters. Encouraging campers and staff to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, avoiding entry of ill campers/staff, keeping ill individuals away from well individuals, timely and thorough environmental cleaning with the proper product, and prompt reporting of illness are key factors in preventing the spread of norovirus.

CDC Norovirus Prevention and Response in Camps

Click on the image below to view the factsheet.

CDC Healthy Camping

Click on the image below to view the factsheet.

Camp directors should contact BCHS Communicable Disease Clinic with questions about these conditions. The NC Division of Public Health, Communicable Disease Branch is also available for consultation and can be reached by calling 919-733-3419 (24/7). 

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Contact

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MAILING ADDRESS: PO BOX 9
BOLIVIA NC, 28422

(910) 253-2250
(888) 428-4429
HEALTH@BRUNSWICKCOUNTYNC.GOV
open mon-fri:
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