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Posted on: November 21, 2022

GAC filters continue to effectively remove Chemours’ PFAS

pouring a sample from a bottle to tube

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant continued to reduce PFAS during treatment to levels at or near non-detection since going online in early October.

CFPUA has an ongoing program to monitor PFAS in raw, untreated water from the Cape Fear River and in finished, treated drinking water.

The most recent test results, from treated drinking water sampled November 1, detected no PFAS in 64 of 65 PFAS analyzed by CFPUA’s contracted laboratory.

One compound – perfluoropropanoic acid (also called PPF acid or PFPrA) – analysis for which first became available to CFPUA from its contract lab earlier this year – was detected in finished, treated water at 2.71 parts per trillion (ppt). The concentration of perfluoropropanoic acid in raw untreated water was 6.77 ppt.

This compound has a history of analytical uncertainty, leading to its removal from the Table 3+ list of Chemours-specific compounds monitored by Chemours. However, after careful review by CFPUA staff we have determined it is appropriate to report and record this data.  

The Sweeney Plant sources water from the Cape Fear River and provides about 80 percent of the treated drinking water CFPUA distributes to customers. The total project cost for the GAC filters was $43 million. They were built to address PFAS contamination in the river from Chemours, which operates a chemical manufacturing plant upriver from CFPUA’s raw water intakes.

CFPUA believes Chemours, not our customers, should be responsible for costs to address its PFAS contamination. In 2017, CFPUA filed a lawsuit on behalf of our customers, seeking to compel Chemours to take responsibility for those costs. The lawsuit is ongoing, and the timing and nature of any resolution remain uncertain. CFPUA is a government agency, operating at no profit whatsoever, so customers will benefit from any award resulting from the lawsuit.

Find out more about the GAC filters, ongoing PFAS monitoring, and the lawsuit at CFPUA.org/Sweeney.