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Environmental groups seek order from North Carolina to stop Chemours pollution

by Cheryl Hogue
May 11, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 20


Environmental advocates are formally asking North Carolina to order Chemours to stop releases of fluorinated compounds from a factory near Fayetteville. Those substances taint wells around the facility and the nearby Cape Fear River. Since this pollution came to public attention a year ago, Chemours has collected its process wastewater for off-site disposal and is installing air pollution controls. But fluorochemicals continue to move from the site into the environment and ultimately into sources of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents. Now, the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of a local environmental group, Cape Fear River Watch, formally asked the state Department of Environmental Quality to act on its own, rather than waiting to see if a state court will order Chemours to halt the releases. The contamination, which includes hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and other fluoroethers related to Chemours’s industrial surfactant GenX, “is causing imminent danger to people’s health and public safety,” the law center alleges. If the releases don’t stop by early July, the law center plans to ask a federal court to find that the company violated the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.


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