Press Release | June 15, 2022

New EPA drinking water health advisory for GenX underscores action needed 

Agencies must use existing authority to prevent ongoing exposure to GenX and other PFAS

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Southern Environmental Law Center says that the new Environmental Protection Agency drinking water health advisories for GenX and other PFAS announced today in Wilmington, N.C., underscore the need for action. It calls on the EPA and state agencies to enforce existing laws against polluters as the center did in stopping Chemours’ GenX and other PFAS pollution in North Carolina. The Chemours Fayetteville Works facility polluted the Cape Fear River upstream of drinking water intakes for Wilmington, Brunswick County, and Pender County that serve over 300,000 people.

“We applaud EPA’s leadership in setting the new health advisory level for GenX and proposing new advisories for PFOA and PFOS. No community should have to suffer from toxic PFAS pollution, especially when agencies have existing authority to identify and control sources of these dangerous chemicals,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center who led litigation against Chemours in North Carolina to stop GenX and other PFAS pollution.  “EPA, DEQ, and state agencies nationwide must enforce existing law that requires use of technology to reduce or eliminate PFAS when issuing water permits.”

SELC’s litigation led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution at its source that contaminated the Cape Fear River.  The resulting installation of technology at the site has demonstrated that widely available control technologies can prevent PFAS discharges. The Southern Environmental Law Center and our client, Cape Fear River Watch, continue to enforce the terms of a resulting consent order with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours to stop the GenX and other PFAS pollution at its source and ensure the Cape Fear River is safe for downstream communities. GenX and other PFAS have been found in their treated drinking water at high levels.

A timeline of the GenX and other PFAS contamination discovery, litigation and consent order in North Carolina can be found here.

A graphic showing the pathways of PFAS contamination can be viewed here.

Press Contacts

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-945-7106
Email: ksullivan@selcnc.org