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.

Statement on Voters Receiving Incorrect Ballots at the Leland Cultural Arts Center

10.23.2018

The Brunswick County Board of Elections is giving about 150 voters who received the wrong ballot at one early voting site the opportunity to cast a new ballot in the 2018 general election.

On Oct. 18, the Brunswick County Board of Elections became aware that some voters had received the incorrect ballot at the Leland Cultural Arts Center. Upon investigation, it was determined that some poll workers did not properly pull up some voters’ ballots on the touch-screen voting machines. That evening, procedures were put in place at all one-stop locations in the county to ensure the errors weren’t repeated.

Over the weekend, Board of Elections staff conducted an audit of the 2,172 ballots cast at the Leland Cultural Arts Center between Oct. 17 and Oct. 19, when the incorrect ballots were issued, and determined that 147 voters were given incorrect ballots.

Sara Knotts, director of the Brunswick County Board of Elections, has been in touch with officials at the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, the Brunswick County Board of Elections, and the Brunswick County Republican and Democratic parties. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to these voters, and we have taken steps to prevent this from happening again,” Knotts said.

Brunswick County is split between two NC House of Representatives districts. The affected voters were given a ballot with the incorrect House contest. That is the only difference between the ballot styles.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Board of Elections will mail letters to the affected voters, notifying them of the incorrect ballot and giving them the opportunity to cast a new ballot if they wish. For voters who decide to vote new ballots, the original ballot will be discarded, and only the new, correct ballot will be counted. For voters who decide not to vote new ballots, their votes will be counted for all races, except for the state House race in question.

If the affected voters provided a phone number when they registered, Board of Elections staff also will call the phone number on record this week. Citizens who voted at the Leland Cultural Arts Center during those dates can email their name, address and phone number to sara.knotts@brunswickcountync.gov to find out if they are among the affected voters.