“Last summer North Carolina citizens learned that GenX had infiltrated public drinking water supplies drawn from the Cape Fear River, all the way down to Wilmington.

That contamination bloomed into a local problem for Watters and hundreds of others last fall who live near plants that DuPont built decades ago on some 2,000 acres bordering the Cape Fear.

In time, Watters learned more than a dozen industrial chemicals had breached well water on his property, located just a mile from the industrial site now operated by Chemours, a company spun off by DuPont.

Suddenly Watters, a U.S. Army veteran trained to gather intelligence abroad, found himself an environmental activist needing to push his own county and state governments to force a cleanup…

In 2009, DuPont assured EPA staff that GenX was safer than C8 but the agency nonetheless required that the company prevent GenX from escaping from manufacturing sites with “99 percent efficiency.” Despite that, in recent months the chemical has been found not only in drinking water but in soil, rainwater, food and — very recently — in river sediments in this state.

On his own, Watters dished out $800 for a fuller screening of his well water by a private lab. It found  GenX levels of 236 ppt and 14 more chemicals of concern, including C8…

So the ardent gun-rights supporter and Republican joined arms with environmentalists down river to fight back. Inspired by the Facebook group Stop GenX in Our River launched by Beth Kline-Markesino, Katie Gallagher and others, Watters created a similar group for people living near the Chemours Plant.

The introduction to the Grays Creek Residents United Against GENX in our Wells and Rivers Facebook page reads: ‘No political comments please … let’s keep it to the point … the contamination in the water.’

There Watters has shared scores of peer-reviewed research articles on risks from PFAS, news articles about similar pollution detected elsewhere in the United States and abroad, including the Netherlands, and notices of public meetings with government officials, scientists and lawyers…

Some people he’s met at community meetings say they have come to depend on his knowledge and concern…

Watters, along with others, is suing Chemours and DuPont for willful negligence, with help from the national law firm Baron & Budd. He encourages anyone else affected by the pollution to do the same with the attorney of their choice.

His primary goal is to help force Chemours, which has made few public comments on the pollution, to supply him and others with new water. He stresses that water should be drawn from the Cape Fear River above the Chemours plant.

‘I want clean water,’ he said.

He’s changed his tune with state officials, trying to be more of a helper than a critic. He’s volunteered his land as a rainwater sample collection site. Next week he will allow Chemours to install a granular activated carbon filtration system at his home to test its effectiveness as a temporary fix.”

Read the full article by Catherine Clabby.