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EPA Hears from North Carolina Communities at Fayetteville Community Engagement Event

08/14/2018
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FAYETTEVILLE — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrapped up the latest per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) community engagement in Fayetteville, North Carolina. With more than 250 attendees, the event was the largest EPA has hosted to help address this important issue.

“Today’s community engagement event in Fayetteville allowed EPA to hear directly from communities across the state about their PFAS-related concerns and recommendations for the Agency,” said Regional Administrator Trey Glenn. “EPA will incorporate the information shared about how best to support work at the state and local levels in North Carolina into our national plan to manage PFAS.”

“Not only do I go to Washington to represent our community, but I am also working to bring Washington officials here so that folks can have direct access to decision makers. I want to thank the EPA for accepting my invitation to bring one of their community engagement events to Fayetteville so we can hear directly from the EPA and we can share our GenX concerns. I will continue to work with local, state and federal stakeholders to get the answers and scientific data we need to tackle GenX,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).

“PFAS contamination is a problem that affects drinking water providers across the country, but water utilities cannot solve this problem alone,” said Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Director of Engineering Carel Vandermeyden. “We need a collaborative strategy to address PFAS contamination. We need stricter source control, an improved NPDES permitting system, and methods of remediation that protect drinking water sources and users of our nation's waterways.”

"Communities across North Carolina are extremely concerned about the impacts of PFAS contamination on our health and our environment,” said Cape Fear Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette. “We appreciate the opportunity to share those concerns with the EPA and we expect the EPA to take action on this critical issue."

Most importantly, EPA heard directly from the public at the listening session. More than 40 individuals spoke about their experiences, concerns, and suggestions on PFAS. Using information from the National Leadership Summit, public docket, and community engagement events, EPA plans to develop a PFAS Management Plan for release later this year.

Prior to the listening session, EPA held a working session with federal, state, and local partners. The programming consisted of leaders from EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, EPA’s Office of Research and Development, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and community organizations focusing on science, local issues, and the community.

Overall, the community engagement event encouraged citizens to voice concerns and provide input to EPA. Public engagement of this nature is incredibly valuable to the development of EPA’s understanding of PFAS chemicals in North Carolina.

Citizens are also encouraged to submit written statements to the public docket at https://www.regulations.gov/  enter docket number: OW-2018-0270. A summary of the North Carolina PFAS community engagement event in Fayetteville will be made available on the PFAS Community Engagement Website.

EPA has made addressing PFAS a priority, and EPA is moving expeditiously on the following actions:

1. EPA will initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS. We will convene our federal partners and examine everything we know about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
2. EPA is beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102.
3. EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete this task by fall of this year.
4. EPA is taking action in close collaboration with our federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS by this summer.

Background

PFAS is a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in everyday products since the 1940s. But PFAS compounds also can enter the environment, raising concerns about the potential environmental and health risks. PFAS have been detected in the Cape Fear River and several public water supplies, as well as groundwater and private wells in some North Carolina communities.

Fayetteville, North Carolina marks the fourth community engagement event following events in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Colorado the past few months. Information on these community engagement events are available on the EPA website.