GenX

City of Greensboro

  A team of researchers from universities across the state will begin testing air and municipal water samples throughout North Carolina this month in search of potentially-toxic compounds.

Ben McKeown / WUNC

Earlier this week the state turned down Chemours’ suggestion to raise the acceptable amount of GenX, a chemical found in the water, soil and air around its North Carolina plant. The Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board instead affirmed the state’s conservative threshold of the chemical for drinking water. 

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The Chemours Company will stop providing bottled water to hundreds of residents whose well water has been tainted by the chemical GenX.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A chemical manufacturer responsible for contaminating residential wells in Bladen, Cumberland and Robeson counties has offered to install filtration systems in some affected homes. But state regulators say it's too soon to take that step.

Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Public hearings on environmental issues are often publicized in the back of the newspaper and roundly ignored. But amidst alarm over GenX and other contaminants in the Cape Fear River, Columbus County residents showed up in droves to two public meetings on the proposed use of methyl bromide in a local logging operation. 

Ben McKeown / WUNC

Chemours and state regulators may not see eye to eye on a long-term solution for residential wells tainted by GenX.

Ben McKeown / WUNC

A year after news broke that Chemours had been releasing unregulated, industrial compounds into the Cape Fear River for decades, the company ended its silence with a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

  Last June, The Wilmington Star News broke news that the toxic chemical GenX was found in drinking water from the Cape Fear River.  Long before their investigative series was published, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) knew about the elevated levels of GenX.  Once the news of tainted water spread through the state, so did fears and concerns from residents, government officials and environmental groups.

Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will hold a national conference to look more closely at chemical compounds in water.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

State regulators are testing fish from a privately-owned lake near the Chemours plant in Bladen County for the presence of GenX, the latest regulatory response to increasing questions about the risks posed by this emerging contaminant.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Wilmington city officials have had enough. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution this week asking the state Department of Environmental Quality to order Chemours to halt the production of GenX and other unregulated perfluorinated compounds.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State legislators have adjourned until May after voting to fix a long-standing issue over mandated class sizes, while delaying further action on the GenX water contamination issue.

Photo of Michael Scott at microphone
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Last week state officials held a public forum in Bladen County to share information and address concerns about GenX, the unregulated chemical produced by Chemours that has contaminated drinking water. Many residents said they left with more questions than answers.

Concerned residents gather during a public forum at the Bladen Community College to discuss GenX on February 1, 2018.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Bladen County residents like Kellie Hair were not happy when state officials said it would take more time to figure out the health and environmental impact of GenX and other fluorinated compounds released into the atmosphere by Chemours.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

For many people in North Carolina, Chemours is synonymous with contamination of drinking water. News surfaced last year that the chemical manufacturer released GenX and other emerging contaminants into the Cape Fear River for years without knowing how they could affect humans. GenX has also ended up in residential wells near the company’s plant in Bladen County.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

On this week's review of North Carolina politics, lawmakers again discussed what to do about GenX, the contaminant that has been discharged in the Cape Fear River. Also, lawmakers return to Raleigh next week, though their agenda remains unclear. And, 2018 is an election year that is expected to see a President Trump trickle down effect.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those stories during this conversation.

Lanier Falls Cape Fear River, Raven Rock NC
bobistravelling / Flickr - Creative Commons

Ted Davis knows any legislation needs to get through a sharply divided General Assembly.

The Wilmington Republican who chairs the Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality has said more controversial issues like funding for the Department of Environmental Quality can come later.

mist rises off the Cape Fear River
Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Creative Commons

State lawmakers are expected to make addressing the water pollutant GenX a priority in their upcoming legislative session. Republican Rep. Ted Davis may introduce a draft bill as early as Jan. 4 that is expected to have bipartisan support. But as News & Observer reporter Will Doran points out, a lack of funding for its provisions will likely be a sticking point.
 

Host Frank Stasio talks to Doran about the latest on GenX. He also speaks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about other items the state legislature has on its short-term and year-long agendas.

Early morning anglers heading downstream from Avent's Ferry on the Cape Fear River, near Corinth, North Carolina.
Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr/Creative Commons

Updated 5:40 p.m. | Dec. 5, 2017

The unregulated compound found in more than 80 drinking water wells near a chemical company's manufacturing facility in North Carolina has been found in a food product for the first time.

An aerial picture of the Port of Wilmington
Wikimedia

Republicans and democrats in the sharply divided General Assembly might finally be able to find some common ground: Punishing Chemours, the DuPont-spinoff company that has contaminated drinking water in the Wilmington area and in residential wells in the vicinity of its Fayetteville plant.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

Tests have shown a total of 85 residential wells near the Chemours plant in Fayetteville with GenX levels above the state health advisory goal--and that number could very well go up as more results come in.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

The state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday it is taking steps to revoke Chemours' wastewater permit for discharging certain fluorinated chemical compounds, including GenX. The Dupont-affiliated company manufactures GenX for use in non-stick surfaces like Teflon.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Updated 2:39 p.m. | Nov. 13, 2017

Mike Watters is angry. The military veteran lives in a subdivision about a mile from the center of Fayetteville Works, a plant owned by DuPont affiliate Chemours.

Cape Fear River, NC, at Raven Rock Park
Blipperman / Wikimedia Commons

This week Brunswick County filed a lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont for their involvement in discharging the contaminant GenX into the Cape Fear River. The lawsuit is seeking to recover the costs to the county for investigating, managing, reducing and removing the chemical.

It is one of several lawsuits against Chemours and DuPont. Last week a Leland resident filed a class action lawsuit against the two companies after she discovered GenX in her water heater.

The Sweeney Water Treatment Plant in Wilmington is part of the Cape Fear Public Utility.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A utility that provides water in southeastern North Carolina has sued a company it accuses of polluting the Cape Fear River, where the utility gets its water.

Jim Flechtner, Executive Director of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White found out about GenX the same way many others in and around Wilmington did. It was June 8th, and he slept in a little since he was on vacation.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Republican lawmakers used their super-majorities Wednesday to override another of Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes.

This time, the General Assembly vetoed an environmental bill that provides some money – but not enough, according to Cooper – to address a little-studied chemical discharged into a river.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

A special house committee met Thursday in Raleigh to discuss the discharge of unregulated chemicals into the Cape Fear River - but the committee heard more questions than answers about potential health effects.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

Updated Sept. 21, 1:46 p.m

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday vetoed legislation providing $435,000 to help treat a chemical pollutant in a North Carolina river because the bill omitted a much larger amount that his agencies sought to address drinking water protections statewide.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

This week in North Carolina politics, a conversation about Hurricane Irma and North Carolina's storm preparations; pollution along the Cape Fear River; and the impact of President Trump's announcement on the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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