Judge grants CFPUA’s motion to intervene in Chemours’ appeal of discharge permit

Judge grants CFPUA’s motion to intervene in Chemours’ appeal of discharge permit
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 2:47 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s motion to intervene in Chemours’ appeal of a discharge permit was granted by a judge Thursday.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit to Chemours on Sept. 15 for a treatment system to remove PFAS in water coming from the company’s Fayetteville Works site.

PFAS are considered “forever chemicals” because of their tendency not to break down in the environment or the human body.

The permit limited the amount of PFAS allowed in Chemours’ discharged water.

Chemours announced it would appeal the permit on Oct. 14, stating “late changes to the permit as issued included future effluent limits that exceed the design basis of the proposed treatment system, giving rise to compliance uncertainty with the permit terms within the timeframe required.”

CFPUA filed its motion on Oct. 27, and Administrative Law Judge Donald van der Vaart granted the request Thursday.

“We filed this motion to have a seat at the table so we can advocate for our community for enforcement of the permit as written. The more PFAS Chemours sends to the river, the more it costs us – and our customers – to remove the PFAS from treated drinking water,” said CFPUA Executive Director Kenneth Waldroup. “We also took this step on behalf of our customers, who so far have borne the costs associated with treating drinking water for Chemours’ PFAS.”

CFPUA previously noted that Chemours’ appeal came just three days after the utility announced that no PFAS were detected in the most recent testing of drinking water treated at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.

CFPUA has spent $43 million to build GAC filters at the Sweeney Plant. The utility says that the annual operating costs for the new filters is estimated to be $3.7 million in 2023 and approximately $5 million in subsequent years.