EPA adds Chemours to water order

PARKERSBURG — Chemours has been added to a 2009 C8-related order between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and DuPont, the agency said on Monday.

The 2009 Safe Drinking Water Act consent order between EPA and DuPont concerns exposure to C8, also known as PFOA, from the Washington Works Plant. It was amended to include Chemours and a .07 parts per billion concentration threshold that triggers provisions for an alternate source of drinking water to be provided by DuPont and Chemours, the EPA said.

Chemours, created in a spinoff from DuPont, owns the Washington Works where C8 was once used to make Teflon. A science panel created in the initial settlement of damage claims found a probable link between C8 and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced hypertension including preeclampsia and hypercholesterolemia in humans.

The amendment to the 2009 order is supported by data and the Lifetime Health Advisory issued by the EPA on May 19 that established the concentration of .07 ppb long-term exposure of C8 in drinking water, the EPA said.

The May change prompted the installation of carbon filters in the Vienna water system where C8 concentration exceeded .07 ppb. Similar filters have been installed in six local public water systems, as required in the original settlement, and C8 has been reduced to non-detectable levels.

The concentration of C8 in Parkersburg in the treated water from all wells is below .07 ppb, according to the Parkersburg Utility Board.

The amendment also expands the geographic areas to be investigated and requires appropriate action if levels in drinking water of .07 ppb or more are discovered, the agency said.

Chemours released a statement saying the company and the EPA have reached the agreement.

“Among other items, the agreement formalizes the geography and conditions under which the company will conduct sampling, report, begin and end treatment, and maintain the treatment systems for both public and private drinking water wells containing PFOA,” the statement said. “Chemours has worked cooperatively with local, state and federal regulatory authorities to implement the amendment requirements. Much of the work, including installation of water treatment for the (city of Vienna) and expanded private drinking water well sampling, is already completed or well under way.”

Attorneys representing C8 plaintiffs in damage suits against DuPont said the EPA has been asked for over two years to amend the order, according to attorney Rob Bilott.

“We have been asking EPA and the state for quite some time to revise the old consent order to at least reflect the EPA’s revised drinking water guidelines,” Bilott said on Monday. “We are pleased to hear that the old consent order is being revised, but hope to be able to receive and review a copy of the actual new order soon.”

The long-term exposure should be at .001 ppb, said Jeff Dugas, a spokesman for Keep Your Promises DuPont, a group formed to ensure the company remains liable for damages resulting from C8 exposure. That’s the amount scientists around the world believe may be safe, Dugas said.

However, the amendment makes Chemours responsible with DuPont, he said.

“It puts Chemours on the hook,” Dugas said.

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