Chemours reports two GenX spills at Bladen plant

2018-02-09 | Bladen Journal (Elizabethtown, N.C.)

Feb. 09--While Chemours officials are working to test a carbon-treatment system, the company continues to take troubling hits -- both at its plant along the Bladen-Cumberland counties border and at it parent-company Dupont plant in Ohio.

Over the past two weeks, Chemours has reported a pair of spills containing trace amounts of GenX at its plant along N.C. 87.

According to reports from the N.C. Department of Environment Quality, the first spill happened on Jan. 25 when a drain at the Chemours plant clogged. The second spill was reported Feb. 2 when wastewater spilled as an employee was attempting to attach a hose to a truck.

In both instances, Chemours officials claim only about a gallon of liquid was spilled containing just .00006 pounds of GenX. The two spills came after two other spills this year, reported on Dec. 9 and Jan. 14.

Chemours' troubles in the region first came to light in June 2016 when GenX was found in the Cape Fear River. Since then, there have been other spills -- at least one that went unreported in October 2017 -- and subsequent ground-water testing on private wells have turned up numerous contaminated residential wells. About 505 wells have been tested -- 206 have tested positive for GenX but below the state-approved 140 parts per trillion; 148 have tested negative; and 151 have registered about the 140 ppt, some far above the approved limit.

Over the past several months, those whose wells tested positive and above the 140 ppt have been given bottled water and more wells are being tested further from the Chemours plant. In addition, state officials have become concerned the contaminant is also airborne.

On Thursday, the Ohio State Attorney's Office filed a lawsuit against Dupont, claiming that the chemical company -- which is the parent company for Chemours -- released toxic perfluorooctanoicacid (C8) for decades along the Ohio River despite knowing potential health and environmental risks.

To date, Dupont and Chemours officials have declined any public comment concerning the release of GenX and other chemicals.

Chemours is currently looking into the possibility that a water filtration system could solve the contamination problem for residents using well water. The company wants to put carbon treatment systems in those wells, but the idea has not yet been approved by state DEQ officials.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or cvincent@bladenjournal.com.

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