Chemours captured the wastewater leaking the toxic chemical GenX from its Fayetteville, North Carolina, plant into a nearby river.
The Wilmington, DE-based company, said it is working closely with federal agencies and North Carolina officials to determine the next step in removing GenX from the Cape Fear River, which runs from Fayetteville to Wilmington, NC.
No further details on how Chemours has captured the wastewater were provided by the company. Chemours said last week it would begin the process of capturing the GenX-tainted wastewater that had flowed into the river.
Officials from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) plan to visit the plant this week to verify the discharge has stopped, the agency said in a statement.
“Chemours continues to believe that emissions from our Fayetteville plant have not impacted the safety of drinking water and trace GenX amounts in the Cape Fear River to date have been well below the health screening level announced by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on June 12,” the company said.
Chemours came under fire earlier this month after reports surfaced linking the company to the discharge of GenX – a chemical used in the manufacturing of Chemours’ Teflon product – into the Cape Fear River.
GenX is an unregulated chemical used in Teflon manufacturing since 2009. It has not been produced long enough to understand GenX’s impact on the human body. However, Chemours chose GenX to replace the chemical C8, or perfluorooctanoic acid, because GenX was less toxic.
Earlier this month, Chemours executives conceded the GenX is likely coming from the Fayetteville plant, about 100 miles upstream from Wilmington, NC. But those same executives said at a June meeting they were unaware how GenX ended up in the river, according to reports from North Carolina media outlets.
Michael Regan, head of the NCDEQ, said last week the agency along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will probe Chemours’ role in the GenX disposal.
“[The agencies] will continue to investigate this issue until we have answers to address the concerns of downstream water users,” Regan said in a statement.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also considering an investigation.