The NC Department of Environmental Quality will test water from 12 locations in and near the Cape Fear River for GenX, an unregulated contaminant found in Wilmington’s drinking water.
The sampling sites include the Chemours outfall near Fayetteville, a well in Wrightsville Beach and water treatment plants in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.
DEQ has posted a map as part of its new section devoted to the GenX investigation on the agency’s home page. Sampling results, which will be used to analyze drinking water safety, will also be posted here. A lab in Colorado and another at an EPA regional office in Research Triangle Park are testing the samples. Chemours, which manufactures Teflon-like materials that produce GenX, has agreed to pay for the analysis and sampling. Results could become available in a month.
Copies of the air quality, hazardous waste and wastewater discharge permits are also listed on the site. The wastewater permit expired on Oct. 31, but has been “administratively continued” until a new permit is issued. Chemours’s application for a renewed wastewater discharge permit is also listed on the DEQ site.
DEQ says it is also “pushing the EPA” for guidance on regulating GenX.
According to DEQ, the EPA is developing an updated health screening level for the chemical. State health department officials have said that the concentrations of GenX in Wilmington’s drinking water present a “low risk” — although the levels are derived from Chemours’s own computer modeling and not actual sampling. However DHHS is reviewing available health data and asking the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance on GenX’s health risks.