Commissioners, Cape Fear River Watch comment on Chemours, DuPont and Corteva reaching $1.18 billion PFAS settlement

Chemours, DuPont and Corteva reach PFAS Settlement with U.S. Water Systems; excluding the Cape Fear Basin
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 11:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:02 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Chemours, DuPont and Corteva agreed to a more than a billion-dollar settlement amid complaints they polluted drinking water across the country.

In a press release, Chemours states “...the settlement companies will collectively establish and contribute a total of $1.185 billion to a settlement fund.... with Chemours contributing 50 percent (about $592 million), and DuPont (about $400 million) and Corteva (about $193 million) collectively contributing the remaining 50 percent. The settlement amounts will be funded by the companies in full and deposited into the water district settlement fund within ten business days following preliminary approval of the settlement by the Court.”

It goes on to say the settlement excludes “water systems owned and operated by a State or the United States government; small systems that have not detected the presence of PFAS and are not currently required to monitor for it under federal or state requirements; and water systems in the lower Cape Fear River Basin of North Carolina (which are included only if they so request).”

New Hanover County Commissioner and CFPUA Board Member Jonathan Barfield Jr. said Monday night he believes the CFPUA board should request to be included in the settlement. He said while compensation is important, the primary goal remains to provide clean drinking water, and he plans to continue putting the health of the community and the goal of having PFAS-free water, at the forefront of the fight.

“It’s an announcement from Chemours and DuPont that they made a mistake and that they indeed contaminated our water,” Barfield said. “It’s an announcement that they’re going to find a way to help pay for the cleanup, and remediation of PFAS and an acknowledgment that folks who have contaminated wells will now have some resources available to help them get clean quality drinking water.”

Chemours, Dupont and Corteva currently face thousands of lawsuits over the dumping of “forever chemicals” into water supplies, including a lawsuit for putting Gen-X into the Cape Fear River. Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette says he believes Chemours puts profit above safety, and called it “outrageous” that the Cape Fear River Basin is not included in the settlement.

“I have no idea why an area that has been so significantly impacted by this issue would have been left out other than the fact that Chemours understands the extent to which it’s on the hook for our region’s contamination, and they are doing what they’ve done throughout this process, which is put their profits over the people whose water they’ve contaminated,” Burdette said.

Various studies show that some of those forever chemicals linger in the environment and the human body, and are linked to several forms of cancer.

In light of the agreement among Chemours, DuPont and Corteva, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority released the following statement: