Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina’s state government collaboration with its best-in-class university system to address PFAS contamination and research has made the state a nationwide model.
Dr. Lee Ferguson, a Duke University researcher, has described the state’s response as “visionary,” and praised the monitoring network set up in the 2018 budget as “the most sophisticated and comprehensive emerging-pollutant monitoring program for water in the United States.”
Regarding PFAS contamination in firefighting foam, bipartisan legislation passed last year directed environmental experts at UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to conduct research and present a comprehensive report, including policy recommendations, by October 15, 2020.
Since the discovery of PFAS in North Carolina, the state government has taken the following (largely bipartisan) actions:
· Authorized the Governor to cease the activities and operations of any unauthorized PFAS discharger;
· Authorized the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to require any discharger of PFAS that contaminates a private drinking water well to establish a permanent replacement water supply for that affected well;
· Appropriated funds to assist local governments in the expeditious connection of PFAS-contaminated wells to public water supplies;
· Appropriated funds to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority for water sampling and testing PFAS treatment techniques;
· Appropriated funds to the NC Policy Collaboratory for the following activities at NC’s colleges and universities:
· Employ recognized national experts to perform testing of all of North Carolina’s surface- and ground-water public drinking sources for the presence of PFAS (the final report of this testing is due December 2020);
· Provide university-owned, state-of-the-art analytical equipment to DEQ for PFAS sampling analysis on an as-needed basis;
· Utilize leading researchers in NC colleges and universities to:
· Develop models to predict those groundwater wells most at risk of PFAS contamination;
· Test the performance of PFAS treatment technologies;
· Study atmospheric deposition of PFAS;
· Appropriated funds to DEQ for the following PFAS-related activities:
· Purchase of a new mass spectrometer;
· Sampling and analysis of the atmospheric deposition of PFAS;
· Sampling and analysis of PFAS in groundwater wells, soil, and sediment;
· Address permitting backlogs;
· Hire personnel and purchase supplies necessary for PFAS-related sampling and analysis.
Furthermore, Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget means DEQ won’t be able to add five new positions to support activities related to emerging compounds, including PFAS.