Read the full article by Matthew Prensky (StarNews)
“Thousands of residents across the Wilmington region rely on wells to provide water to their homes and businesses, and for much of the past six years, what effect the GenX crisis has had on these individuals wasn’t clear. A growing body of data is starting to change that.
For more than 30 years, Chemours, and before them DuPont, dumped untold amounts of PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluorinated substances, into the air, ground and waters of the Cape Fear region. What’s resulted is the contamination of the drinking water for roughly 1-in-15 North Carolinians with chemicals linked to various adverse health conditions including cancer.
Chemours began testing private drinking water wells in the Wilmington area last spring after being ordered to do so by state regulators. In that time, more than 3,000 wells have been tested, with roughly 1-in-5 coming back positive for PFAS contamination. Now, nearly a year later, test results are starting to create a clearer picture of how serious the GenX crisis is in the Wilmington area.
‘We’ve learned that there are quite a bit of homes with pretty high PFAS levels,’ said Dana Sargent, executive director of Cape Fear River Watch. ‘The numbers are surprising. We don’t know yet how or why the groundwater here is so contaminated, but the makeup of the PFAS is matching for the most part with Chemours’ specific PFAS.’
As of Nov. 30, some 719 drinking water wells have tested positive for PFAS contamination across New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Columbus counties, according to Chemours’ monthly update to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. November’s monthly report was the most recent data made available by the state.
- New Hanover County: 471 wells came from New Hanover County, where roughly 46% of wells tested came back with some detectable level of PFAS.
- Brunswick County: 59 wells came from Brunswick County, where approximately 54% of the sampled wells contained detectable levels of PFAS.
- Pender County: 188 wells came from Pender County, where roughly 33% of wells tested had detectable levels of PFAS.
- Columbus County: Only one well in Columbus County exceeded the state’s PFAS testing requirements, and roughly 6% of wells sampled have detectable levels of PFAS.
The testing data is revealing clusters of positive test results throughout New Hanover County and in parts of Brunswick and Pender counties. PFAS clusters have appeared in parts of Ogden and Porters Neck as well as south of Monkey Junction in New Hanover County, according to Chemours’ weekly sampling maps from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5. Smaller clusters are also showing up near Leland in Brunswick County and along the U.S. 17 corridor in Pender County.
‘There are a cluster of wells around Bayshore (near Ogden), but there’s a number of wells not very many so far along the Brunswick County beaches that turn up higher than 10 parts per trillion of PFAS, and there’s a few scattered around the area,’ said Larry Cahoon, a biology and marine professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.”…