The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has ordered the Chemours chemical plant to demonstrate that it is capable of preventing groundwater contamination resulting from the plant’s air emissions. NCDEQ has given the plant three weeks to show compliance, according to the Fayetteville Observer. The terms of the plant’s air quality permit will also be altered.
The ultimatum pinpoints the GenX chemical as the reason for action. The chemical, which is made at the plant, has been surrounded in controversy after the potential carcinogen was discovered as having contaminated public drinking water and private wells in areas throughout North Carolina.
“Chemours must show to DEQ’s satisfaction that they can operate without further contamination of groundwater or we will prohibit all GenX air emissions,” said NCDEQ Secretary Michael Regan.
If the plant is compliant by the April 27 deadline, the terms of their air quality permit will not be altered. Despite the discovery of GenX in the state’s drinking water in certain areas, the levels have been well below the state’s 140 ppt drinking water health goal for several months.
This new demand by the agency follows months of skepticism. On Feb. 12, 2018, NCDEQ issued a notice of violation calling for the chemical plant to clean up groundwater emissions and to prevent air contamination. In response, the chemical plant claims to have taken action, including plans to install two granular activated carbon adsorption systems that may be used to control emissions.
Also announced by the agency on April 6, 2018, was the discovery of the GenX chemical as far as seven miles away from the facility, measuring levels of 45 and 810 ppt.