“EPA officials listened to residents’ input about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Tuesday, with many from the Cape Fear River Basin, urging the agency to take a series of protective actions on the chemical GenX and others related to it. Recommendations included regulating PFAS as a class to lowering standards for them to taking greater steps to prevent contamination.

Tuesday’s event started with work sessions in the morning, including updates on scientific and regulatory efforts, before transitioning to a lengthy public comment session in the afternoon that included frequent calls for additional, prompt action.

EPA officials said Tuesday they are continuing to work with state and local officials to address GenX and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The chemical burst into the state’s awareness last June after the StarNews first reported on a study showing the chemical had been found in raw water from the Cape Fear River and finished drinking water from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

‘When we as an agency are made aware of concerns or get actionable information where there are health concerns or environmental risk, then we do take action working with our state or local partners on that. As data has become available, as information has been presented to us, we were able to get in and work with our state partners,’ said Trey Glenn, the administrator for EPA’s southeast region.

Thus far, the EPA has held a national leadership summit on PFAS and visited three other communities affected by contamination. They have also announced their intent to release a PFAS management plan in the fall of 2018.

The EPA has been working on a human health toxicity value for GenX, which the agency hopes to release by September. That value will, Grevatt said, be based on all of the data available from industry, states and academia and then be subject to an independent peer review process before being made public…

EPA representatives heard concerns from Brunswick County and Wilmington residents who questioned why a meeting was not being held in the coastal region, where public utilities have been crafting solutions to the GenX contamination.

‘This is the middle of the week in the middle of a work day and you’re having a public hearing? Seriously? Who do you want to hear from?’ said Veronica Carter, a Brunswick County resident who also sits on DEQ’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board…

Reps. Deb Butler, D-New Hanover, and Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, both called on the EPA to provide more aide, albeit with different reasoning.

Butler, speaking first, pointed to the N.C. General Assembly’s inability to fund the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality to the levels requested by department leadership.

‘North Carolina needs you desperately to do what we do not have the political will to do for ourselves,’ Butler said. ‘Hold this company responsible for us and stop them from contaminating our communities.’

Davis asked the EPA to help keep his family and other residents of the Cape Fear basin safe by assisting DEQ with efforts already underway. He also referenced Chemours’ decision to not attend Tuesday’s event.

‘Why is Chemours afraid to do this? What do they have to hide?’ Davis asked. ‘We need answers. We deserve answers, and we need you, the federal EPA, to help us in this fight.'”

Read the full article by Adam Wagner