News Feature | October 6, 2017

NC Utility Begins Major GenX Pumping Project

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome

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The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) began pumping water out of its aquifer and storage recovery site in September as part its plan to address GenX challenges.

The authority is working to keep the public alerted as it responds to GenX contamination issues. North Carolina regulators lowered the limit for GenX in drinking water after it was revealed that the Cape Fear River was contaminated.

The goal of the pumping project is to remove “nearly 50 million gallons of water that had been treated at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant and injected into the aquifer before CFPUA knew about the presence of GenX, an unregulated compound that was discharged into the Cape Fear River by the Chemours Company,” WECT reported.

“Water is being pumped at 500 gallons per minute and engineers will be measuring the project's progress through a series of monitoring wells constructed in the vicinity. After the water is pumped from the well, it travels through a temporary wastewater pipe to the nearest wastewater force main, where it will be treated at one of CFPUA's wastewater treatment plants,” the report said.

After high levels of GenX were found in the Cape Fear River, state regulators began to pressure industry polluters to safeguard waterways from this contaminant. A major chemical company operating in North Carolina, Chemours, is taking steps to contain wastewater laced with the contaminant. GenX, a persistent and toxic industrial chemical used to replace perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has been detected in North Carolina drinking water.

Some critics say North Carolina should have begun addressing GenX pollution years ago.

"It's been there 30 years, and we just found it," said State Rep. Bill Brisson, per WRAL. "I know we're a little slow, but we shouldn't be 30 years behind."

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.

Image credit: "POISON" Mark Knobil © 2006, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: