Read the full article by Johanna F. Still (Port City Daily)

“BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Despite a seemingly open offer last week, Brunswick County Schools will not provide bottled water to students indefinitely. A delivery of bottled water, enough to last each classroom one-to-two days, will only be made on a one-time basis to schools that request it.

Wednesday, the school district announced it would supply bottled water to schools that requested it to ‘ease minds’ in the wake of a study released earlier the same day. The district didn’t specify how long it intended to keep the offer open but also did not indicate it was a ‘one-time’ deal. While many in the region understood the offer to be indefinite, apparently, after making the offer the district had to reconsider the time frame — and the potential cost.

Water sampled at Belville Elementary School, collected by a parent who co-founded the grassroots activist group Clean Cape Fear, ranked first out of 44 metropolitan areas studied for having the highest concentration of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Environmental Working Group study.

Brunswick County’s Oct. 22, 2019 sample contained a total of 185 parts per trillion (ppt) out of the PFAS tested. An accredited independent laboratory tested for 30 PFAS in the study. More than 4,700 PFAS compounds are known to exist; accredited testing methodology has not yet caught up with the wave of chemical byproducts that persist in the environment, many of which are still unknown.

A sample collected on May 29, 2019, tested by the North Carolina Per and Polyfuoroalkyl Substances Testing (PFAST) Network quantified a PFAS concentration more than twice as high as EWG’s recent report. After testing for 47 PFAS compounds, the state-contracted study showed the county’s public drinking water contained a total of 395 ppt…

BCS’ decision

After issuing the initial 1:14 p.m. press release, Brunsick County Schools (BCS) realized it would need to curtail its initial offering during a 2 p.m. conference call with Brunswick County officials Wednesday.

BCS’ press release did not specify a time frame in its announcement to provide bottled water. It didn’t say the bottled water deliveries would be on a one-time basis or if they would be supplied until Brunswick County’s planned reverse osmosis technology is installed at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant in November 2022-May 2023.

‘Until Brunswick County Government officials tell us the water is not safe to consume, BCS will operate as normal. However, we are providing the option of bottled water for students/staff on-site to help ease minds regarding the recent report from EWG,’ the press release stated…

Since the public offer Wednesday, Seamans confirmed a one-time delivery was provided to Belville Elementary. One-time deliveries are scheduled Monday at Lincoln Elementary and Southport Elementary. West Brunswick High School has requested one, which could likely be delivered later this week.

Each school will receive enough bottled water to supply each classroom with a one-to-two-day supply…”