New EPA guidance for permits to address PFAS pollution is a significant step
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Following EPA’s announcement today of new guidance for its permits to address PFAS pollution, the Southern Environmental Law Center released the following statement by Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center who led litigation against Chemours in North Carolina to stop GenX and other PFAS pollution. SELC’s litigation under existing laws led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution that contaminated drinking water supplies for about 300,000 people in communities along the Cape Fear River.
“EPA’s action today is the beginning of a significant step forward in protecting our communities from PFAS. The agency recognizes that existing law requires all sources to disclose their pollution and that EPA has the responsibility to reduce or eliminate those discharges through the permitting process. Now, the agency must put monitoring requirements and pollution controls into action. We encourage EPA to use its full authority under the Clean Water Act to eliminate PFAS contamination by modifying its permits as fast as possible.”
Following a lawsuit against the Chemours Company for its years of GenX and other PFAS pollution in eastern North Carolina, the Southern Environmental Law Center and our client, Cape Fear River Watch, continue to enforce the terms of a resulting consent order with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours to stop the GenX and other PFAS pollution at its source and ensure the Cape Fear River is safe for downstream communities. The river is the drinking water source for Wilmington, N.C., and Pender and Brunswick Counties downstream. GenX and other PFAS have been found in their treated drinking water at high levels.
A timeline of the contamination discovery, litigation and consent order can be found here.
A graphic showing the pathways of PFAS contamination can be viewed here.