How an unregulated chemical entered a North Carolina community’s drinking water
One of them is GenX, a man-made compound that manufacturing facilities have discharged into North Carolina’s Cape Fear River for decades.
Mike Watters: 6 September of this year.
He had no inkling that his water might be contaminated until the company tested his well and told him it had an unsafe level of an unregulated chemical known as GenX.
And he’s not alone: residents of 115 homes within a few miles of the plant have been told their water is not safe to consume.
Hari Sreenivasan: Detlef Knappe, a professor of environmental engineering at North Carolina State, was part of the team who found GenX in downstream samples.
Hari Sreenivasan: The DEQ confronted the company in June, and Chemours agreed to stop discharging GenX into the Cape Fear River.
Hari Sreenivasan: The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s Sweeney treatment plant is about 80 miles downstream the Chemours plant.
Jim Flechtner, Executive Director, Cape Fear Public Water Utility Authority: It wasn’t necessarily designed to filter some of these compounds out because they’re not regulated at the national and state level.
Hari Sreenivasan: Meanwhile, residents downstream from the Chemours plant are grappling with the news that gen x and other fluorochemicals are in their drinking water.
Hari Sreenivasan: Two months ago there was another scare for downstream residents: a spill at the Chemours plant caused levels of GenX to spike to almost five times the state’s health goal of 140 parts per trillion.