Read the full article by Allison Ballard (Star News Online)

“BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A day after being atop a list regarding contaminated drinking water, Brunswick County officials responded by defending their water quality efforts, while discussing ongoing efforts to manage the contamination.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released a report about PFAS contamination, or ‘forever chemicals,’ in the nation’s drinking water. A sample from Brunswick County, taken at Leland’s Belville Elementary School, appeared at the top of the list of 44 samples containing manmade per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemical compounds.

Daniel Seamans, with Brunswick County Schools, said that operations continue as normal, but bottled water was sent to Belville Elementary…

The study showed local contamination continues in the aftermath of the 2017 news of a discharge of these chemicals into the Cape Fear River. For county residents, the news has raised new (or renewed) questions about the results…

What do these numbers mean?

This can be a complicated issue, because there are more than 600 PFAS compounds. Many measures to monitor them are focused on individual compounds, such as PFOS or GenX. The Environmental Protection Agency issued a lifetime health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion in 2016 — although other agencies and organizations recommend much lower levels. In 2017, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services set a provisional health goal of 140 ppt for GenX in drinking water.

The Environmental Working Group study tested samples for 30 different PFAS chemicals. The Brunswick County sample, collected in October, found a combined 185.9 parts per trillion of 13 different PFAS at varying concentrations. A Wilmington sample, collected in June, showed 50.5 ppt from 10 different PFAS.

Kascsak also said the county is embarking on a project to install a reverse osmosis treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. And late Wednesday afternoon, Leland-based H2GO Brunwick Water & Sewer said it is still committed to secure an alternate water supply and bring an aquifer-based reverse osmosis water treatment plant to fruition…”