CFPUA executive testifies in support of bill to make PFAS polluters pay
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - At a discussion about PFAS Pollution and Polluter Liability held Thursday morning at the North Carolina General Assembly, CFPUA Executive Director Kenneth Waldroup testified in favor of a “Polluters Pay” bill filed to recoup costs associated with PFAS pollution.
“We encourage you to look at this bill, which provides for the first time in North Carolina tools to establish maximum contaminant limits in safe drinking water,” said Waldroup, testifying before the N.C. House Judiciary 1 Committee. “That’s very important, because we are not going to get that for Chemours-specific PFAS from EPA. It’s simply not on their radar; they have legacy issues to deal with. You will give your Department (DEQ) and, just as importantly, the resources to the (North Carolina) Collaboratory for all of their fantastic academic resources, the opportunity to establish what is safe.”
House Bill 1095 filed in the State House clarifies how state regulators would set maximum contaminant levels for PFAS, which would be no more than 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for any single PFAS compound or 70 ppt for the sum of all PFAS.
Also, if approved, the bill (HB 1095) would give the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) the power to order the manufacturers of PFAS, known to have contaminated public water supplies, to pay for costs incurred to “remove, correct, or abate” the contamination caused by PFAS pollution. This would include funding of treatment plant upgrades, like the eight Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filters installed by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant, to treat PFAS contamination of the Cape Fear River by decades of PFAS released by Chemours and DuPont.
The GAC filters are expected to come online later this summer to treat PFAS and reduce GenX levels to near or non-detection.
If the costs of the upgrades are recouped by CFPUA from a PFAS manufacturer like Chemours, the bill requires the benefits to be passed along to its customers through a reduction in future water rates.
This year, the $43 million cost incurred by CFPUA to install the new GAC filters to treat the PFAS introduced to the Cape Fear River by Chemours and the $3.7 million to operate the filters for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023 is being passed on to customers by a roughly $5 monthly increase in residential water bills.
Thursday’s hearing was for discussion only, and no vote on the bill was taken. Adoption will require approval in the N.C. House and Senate and the signature of Gov. Roy Cooper.
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