Read the full article by Trista Talton (Coastal Review Online)
“WILMINGTON – While Chemours touts the test results of its new air emission reduction equipment at its Fayetteville facility, the company is being called out for not doing enough to cut back on the amount of chemicals it releases into the Cape Fear River.
Chemours announced in late March that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at the Fayetteville Works plant are being controlled at an efficiency of more than 99%.
Results of the tests run on the plant’s thermal oxidizer, which was installed last year, were turned over to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality officials on March 30.
‘We are currently reviewing the report to verify the data,’ Zaynab Nasif, the division’s public information officer, said in an email. ‘It generally takes some time to verify the data, likely a few weeks.’
DAQ staff were on site to observe the testing process of the plant’s thermal oxidizer, she said.
A thermal oxidizer heats volatile organic compounds to the point those compounds are broken down and destroyed before entering the atmosphere.
Chemours Fayetteville Works’ thermal oxidizer in January and February ‘demonstrated a 99.99%’ PFAS destruction efficiency, according to a company press release dated March 30.
Under the terms of a Feb. 25, 2019, consent order, the company was required to install the thermal oxidizer by Dec. 31, 2019, and control all PFAS at an efficiency of 99.99%.
Tests show the thermal oxidizer is controlling PFAS emissions at an average efficiency exceeding 99.999%, according to the company.
‘These results surpass the 99.99 percent destruction of PFAS air emissions as required in our consent order agreement with the state of North Carolina and Cape Fear River Watch, and further emphasize our ongoing determination to deliver our commitments to our community, state and federal regulators and to ourselves,’ Fayetteville Works Plant Manager Brian Long said in a statement. ‘As we have said previously, we hope our progress in emissions control provides a launching point for other PFAS manufacturers to make similar commitments, and demonstrate to our neighbors how seriously we take their concerns.’
Emissions and discharges of PFAS include the compounds that make up GenX, a chemical compound produced to make Teflon, which is used to make nonstick coating surfaces for cookware.
Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility has been discharging GenX and other PFAS into the Cape Fear River and air since the 1980s.
Larry Cahoon, a professor of biology and marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, explained in an email that there were three avenues of groundwater pollution from Fayetteville Works.
‘There was seepage from an unlined outfall to the Cape Fear River, which stopped after the discharge was relocated to a pipe; leaks and spills on facility grounds; and aerial discharges throughout the airshed around the plant,’ he said…”