WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has announced its plan to combat PFAS pollution in the drinking water.
“Families deserve to have confidence that they’re getting clean water when they turn on the tap,” Cooper said. “North Carolina has taken the lead across the country in demanding accountability for PFAS and other emerging chemical compounds and this plan will help us continue to proactively protect our communities.”
Joined by Governor Roy Cooper, NCDEQ officials say the strategy contains three priorities: protecting communities, protecting drinking water and cleaning up existing contamination.
“In the last five years, communities along the Cape Fear River have learned far more than most about GenX and PFAS, or forever chemicals, and their impacts and we want to ensure that in the future no other community experiences what they have already been though,” said Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “DEQ’s Action Strategy lays out our priorities to address PFAS comprehensively across our state and our commitment to propose enforceable standards for PFAS chemicals.”
This summer, the DEQ hopes to reevaluate the latest information on forever chemicals like GenX to further develop regulatory standards. It also plans to propose groundwater, surface water and drinking water standards for PFAS. Those efforts are expected to begin by the end of this year. Leaders also plan to modify environmental permits to follow these standards, limiting how much chemicals companies can legally discharge into the water.
“We are certainly making progress and I’m proud of their approach from the governor’s office and his secretary,” said Wilmington mayor pro-tem Margaret Haynes. “They are taking this directly on and moving forward, which the national administration prior to the Biden Administration was not willing to do. I’m very happy to see what they’re doing today.”
This comes on the heels of House Bill 1095, which could require Chemours to remedy the cape Fear contamination. If it passes, that would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require the responsible party to pay for efforts to remove or correct PFAS contamination.
“Cape Fear Public Utilities and Brunswick County have invested millions of dollars and they’ve had to pass those costs on to their customers,” said Biser. “Our bipartisan bill sets action levels for PFAS in drinking water intakes which are comparable to the limits that are set out in the consent order.”
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