Related: DEQ asks judge to stop Chemours from discharging all GenX-related compounds, says company intentionally misled regulators
“WILMINGTON — The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has put Chemours on notice, again, this time informing the chemical giant that it must show how it will keep air emissions at the Fayetteville Works facility from contaminating groundwater or face an overhaul of its permit.
‘Chemours must show to DEQ’s satisfaction that they can operate without further contamination of groundwater or we will prohibit all GenX air emissions,’ Michael Regan, the secretary of DEQ said in a press release. Friday, DEQ announced they issued a 60-day notice informing Chemours of its intention to modify its air quality permit.
The company has until April 27 to respond to the notice. If they do not — or if their response doesn’t show they can keep air emissions from contributing to groundwater violations — DEQ will ban GenX emissions at the plant, which sits 100 miles upstream from Wilmington. Should Chemours demonstrate it can keep GenX from contributing to groundwater violations, DEQ will tweak the permit to add conditions.
‘The burden will be on them to demonstrate that they will not contribute to groundwater contamination in the future. It’s not something where we’re going to sit here and guess how they’re going to go about demonstrating that,’ Mike Abraczinskas, the director of DEQ’s Department of Air Quality, said Friday.
DEQ also announced Friday that rainwater tests from late February and early March detected GenX as far as 7 miles away from the facility, at levels between 45 and 810 parts per trillion (ppt). DEQ’s letter to Chemours also notes the company’s air emissions estimates have steadily increased as the N.C. Department of Air Quality’s (DAQ) investigation has continued.
While drinking water results initially showed GenX passing through filtration devices in the Lower Cape Fear region at concerning rates, they have been below the state’s 140 ppt drinking water health goal for months. Scientists have warned against comparing drinking water standards to rain water, sediment, air emissions or other measurements.
A Chemours spokeswoman responded with the following:
‘Since the summer of 2017, Chemours has proactively taken numerous steps to reduce emissions, including air emission, of C3 Dimer Acid (also known as Gen-X) and other per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS compounds from Fayetteville Works. We are also developing comprehensive remediation plans to address groundwater concerns. Working under the oversight of the NCDEQ, we are taking swift action to ensure that current and future operations are protective of people and the environment.’ …
Still, Abraczinskas said, DAQ’s gradually improving understanding of the matter forced Friday’s actions, including better information about Chemours’ emissions and further proof that GenX is being spread through rainwater.
In June 2017, Chemours submitted an air emissions inventory reporting approximately 66.6 compounds of GenX-related emissions in 2016, according to the DEQ letter. Then, in October, Chemours submitted a revised estimate saying it emitted 594 pounds of GenX compounds — about nine times the June estimate.
After stack tests were conducted in recent months, Chemours again upped its estimated annual GenX-related emissions to 2,241 pounds, while DAQ estimates the number is more than than 2,700 pounds.”
Read the full article by Adam Wagner.