“The chemical company responsible for contaminating drinking water for thousands of people in Southeastern North Carolina says it will spend more than $100 million to keep GenX and related compounds from being discharged into the air at its Bladen County plant.

‘Chemours is making this investment … to demonstrate its commitment to continuing to operate the facility in North Carolina and to resolve community concerns,’ the company says in a 30-page response to a legal notice from the state Department of Environmental Quality last month.

The notice, filed April 6 and amended three days later, says the state will prohibit all air emissions of GenX and related chemicals if Chemours cannot demonstrate within 60 days that it can operate without causing further groundwater contamination. The state has found that air emissions are a significant source of high levels of contamination in lakes, streams and private wells surrounding the plant.

The state received the response from Chemours on April 27 and is in the process of fully evaluating it, according to a statement from the DEQ. Chemours contends that it would be unable to operate if the state bans all air emissions.

In its response, Chemours says it will make a “massive investment” in its plant, including a thermal oxidizer and other state-of-the-art technology that will eliminate 99 percent of all air emissions of GenX and related compounds. The company said it expects to have the full array of technological improvements in place by late 2019 or early 2020. It said it will continue to significantly reduce emissions in the interim, including by 70 percent within five months…

‘The drafted response from Chemours’ law firm is inadequate to protect public health,’ he said. ‘The lawyers argue that the state should allow pollution to continue because the surrounding area is already polluted and will be for years, but GenX levels will only increase a little bit more.’ ”

Read the full article by Greg Barnes