On June 12, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the “Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2018”—a bill that modifies the current operating budget for the State. The bill provides funding for several water quality-related efforts, including $450,000 for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority to be used for water sampling and testing of treatment technology to address PFAS and other contaminants.
The bill requires that the funds be used to perform sampling of finished drinking water from the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant and in the Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) well to order to quantify levels of existing PFAS. After sampling is complete, the remaining funds will be used to test the effectiveness of mobile treatment units in removing PFAS compounds from groundwater in the ASR.
In June 2017, CFPUA discovered that water in the ASR contained the compound GenX. The ASR was designed to help CFPUA prepare for periods of high demand by storing finished water from Sweeney Water Treatment Plant in the ground. Because water from the Sweeney Plant was used, per-fluorinated compounds from Chemours were unknowingly injected into the well with the finished water.
CFPUA has been in discussions with NCDEQ to determine the future of the ASR project. If these technologies prove to be successful, the ASR well could potentially serve as a potable water source in the future. We look forward to sharing the information gained from this study with other municipalities and utilities facing the challenge of PFAS contamination in groundwater, and we thank the General Assembly for designating these funds. Pilot testing of this kind will be critical in determining the next steps forward in addressing the presence of PFAS compounds in much of our community’s source water.
CFPUA will keep the public up-to-date with regular releases and information on our website. We will also be providing progress reports to the General Assembly and to members of the Senate Select Committee on North Carolina River Water Quality and House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality. Our local Senators Michael Lee and Bill Rabon and Representatives Ted Davis, Jr. and Holly Grange serve on those committees.
CFPUA Conducts Water Sampling at Chemours as Part of Legal Action
Last week, CFPUA staff conducted sampling at the Fayetteville Works site as part of our ongoing litigation with Chemours and Dupont. CFPUA first requested the right to sample on-site in 2017, but Chemours would not voluntarily allow the testing to take place. Finally, pursuant to a court order issued by a judge in the Eastern District, the sampling was allowed to take place.