Groups File to Immediately Stop GenX Pollution from Chemours Fayetteville Facility
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the Southern Environmental Law Center today asked the Department of Environmental Quality to use its existing authority to require Chemours to immediately stop all emissions and discharges of GenX and chemically related compounds and notified the company of its intent to sue for violations of the Clean Water Act and Toxic Substances Control Act for its GenX pollution from its Fayetteville Works Facility.
“After months of study and testing by DEQ, EPA, and other researchers, we now know that Chemours has defiled the air, water, and land at a historic level,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center. “The first step in healing those wounds is to stop the pollution at the source; DEQ must act now to protect the families and communities burdened by Chemours’ ongoing pollution.”
In its filing with the state, SELC argues that DEQ has the authority and obligation to order Chemours to discontinue immediately its discharges of toxic PFAS compounds, including GenX, because the company’s ongoing contamination of air and water is causing imminent danger to people’s health and public safety. DEQ is required by law to act in times of emergency to protect the health and safety of the public.
“The hundreds of thousands of people that drink water contaminated by Chemours’ toxic discharge are outraged,” said Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper. “The State needs to step in and stop this irresponsible company from continuing to harm our health, our water and our air.”
SELC also notified Chemours that its continued pollution of these toxins into North Carolina’s water, air and soil through its stack emissions, unlined pits and wastewater ditches, contaminated equipment and leaks and spills violates both the Clean Water Act and Toxic Substances Control Act. If its violations are not stopped within 60 days, the conservation groups will file suit against Chemours in federal court to stop the pollution.
For nearly four decades, DuPont and Chemours knowingly polluted North Carolina waters with GenX and other toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds causing widespread and dangerous contamination of groundwater and surface waters. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services have recognized that this contamination may present an unreasonable risk of injury to people’s health and our environment.
Families and communities have been exposed to decades of toxic contamination in the water they drink and the air they breathe. Over the past year, GenX has been found in at least 690 private drinking water wells up to 5.5 miles away from the Chemours’ facility. Yet, Chemours continues to emit hundreds of pounds of toxic pollutants into our water, air and soil each day.
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org