Read the full article by Alan Wooten (Bladen Journal)

“WASHINGTON — Three universities, two in Indiana and another in Georgia, have been awarded $4.8 million in research funding for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.

At the universities, researchers will “look at major sources of PFAS contamination, fate, and transport in rural areas including exposure risks from private drinking water wells and improved wastewater treatment methods to remove PFAS from water and biosolids that may be used for agricultural purposes,” a release says.

PFAS, or forever chemicals as they are commonly called, have been identified in Bladen County near the Chemours Co. in the Cape Fear River, in groundwater wells and in the air. Samples of water taken near East Arcadia in 2014 and 2015, an N.C. State researcher has said, also far exceeded state safety standards. GenX contamination has also been found in a water well 9 miles from the plant on the eastern side of the Cape Fear River.

Chemours has been under the microscope since June 2017 when the StarNews newspaper in Wilmington broke the story on contamination of the river.

Research has been ongoing since, including by professionals at N.C. State University, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, advocacy groups like Cape Fear River Watch, and by residents. A number of public meetings have happened, both in Bladen County and in Fayetteville, and the company has been taken to court and forced to comply with a number of orders.

There have also been protests.

Chemours, in response to the news three years ago, invested about $100 million to combat the problem. About three-quarters of that helped put landmark equipment in place — a thermal oxidizer — to reduce air emissions by better than 99 percent.

More than 1,000 residences have been supplied bottled water because of the company’s damage to the environment; others have received reverse osmosis under-the-sink water filtration systems.

The harm of PFAS, which includes GenX, to humans remains in debate. Many believe it causes cancer. Concerns are also prevalent for its impact on farm animals and crops, including backyard gardens…”