Recent News Articles

“It’s a horrible story” — Officials, advocates decry the hazards of PFAS at N.C. summit

Support PFAS Legislation at Federal Level!

Call Burr and Tillis today to encourage PFAS regulation *as a class* in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Please help us call Sen. Burr & Sen. Tillis’s offices. Your phone calls do work. They get recorded every day. A tally is taken and shared with both senators. This is how we let them know these PFAS amendments are vital to protecting our communities. We need them to know that the Haw River is one of the most impacted rivers in North Carolina for contamination by this class of industrial chemicals.

We need both senators to use their influence and persuade Sen. McConnell and Sen. Barrasso to add PFAS  *as a class* to the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and the Toxic Release Inventory as part of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)–otherwise known as the annual federal defense spending bill.  Congress has the power to take a good first step in addressing the nation’s growing PFAS public health crisis. This week is critical as Sen. McConnell and Sen. Barrasso will decide if these PFAS provisions are included in the annual defense spending bill.

Why is this important:

  1. Adding PFAS, as a class, to the Clean Water Act empowers the EPA to set discharge limits on PFAS into surface waters–like the Cape Fear and Haw rivers–which over 1.5 million residents rely on as their primary source for drinking water. This allows states, like NC, to regulate the presence of PFAS through discharge permits. Without this addition, states are left guessing where PFAS is being used and released.
  2. Adding PFAS, as a class, to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) empowers the EPA to unlock Superfund law. This will allow states, like NC, to force the polluter to pay. Companies, like Chemours, should pay for the mess they made. This addition would allow that to happen. Without it we are left paying for someone else’s mess.
  3. Adding PFAS, as a class, to the Toxic Release Inventory will allow states, like NC, to monitor where PFAS are being used and released within the state. Currently, NC’s DEQ is having to guess where PFAS chemicals are used.

Call script:

“Hi! My name is [your name],

My zip code is [your zip code]. I’m calling to encourage Senator [Burr/Tillis] use their influence and persuade Sen. McConnell and Sen. Barrasso to add PFAS *as a class* to the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and the Toxic Release Inventory as part of the fiscal year 2020 NDAA. This issue is very important to me.

I live in the Haw River watershed in central North Carolina that has some of the worst contamination in our river from industrial contaminants in the PFAS family of chemicals. These chemicals are contaminating drinking water in Pittsboro as well as cities downstream on the Cape Fear River including Fayetteville and Wilmington.  We need you to help regulate these chemicals and keep them out of our rivers and drinking waters.

Thank you for your time!”

Sen. Burr: 202.224.3154

Sen. Tillis: 202.224.6342

Please call every day and get at least 5 friends or family members to call with you. This issue is too important to our health and our future health.

If you’d rather send an email, check out this Action Network link- https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-bill-to-regulate-pfas-at-federal-level/

Big Crowd turns out to HRA Drinking Water Forum in Pittsboro on Oct. 16

http://hawriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/PBO-water-forum-compressed.jpg

Over 200 people attended a public forum to address the issue of contaminated drinking water on Oct 16th in the town of Pittsboro.

Download the slides from the forum here: Powerpoint Slides

Dr. Heather Stapleton distributed a fact sheet on drinking water treatment systems: Drinking Water Treatment

If you are interested in participating in the Duke blood study, download this file for information: Duke Study flyer

Additionally, the Town of Pittsboro has been working with consultants to pilot a study for treatment of drinking water. See the resources below:
Memo from Gruesbeck on water treatment study

Contact information for panelists:

Dr. Heather Stapleton- heather.stapleton@duke.edu 

Heather Stapleton is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  She currently serves as co-Director of the Duke Center for Environmental Exposomics and the Deputy Director of the Duke Superfund Research Center.

Dr. Detlef Knappe- knappe@ncsu.edu 

Detlef Knappe is the S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NC State University. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he joined the NC State faculty in 1996.
Dr. Knappe is interested in drinking water quality and treatment, water reuse, organic micropollutants, development of water treatment processes for polar and persistent organic pollutants, and the fate of organic pollutants in solid waste landfills. He is a Trustee of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) Water Science and Research Division, and he is a member of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board. He serves as Associate Editor for AWWA Water Science and is a Topical Editor for the Open Access Journal Drinking Water Engineering and Science. He also serves on the AWWA’s Organic Contaminants Research Committee and the Standards Committee for Activated Carbon.

Dr. Jackie Bangma- jbangma@email.unc.edu

Jackie attended University of Georgia where she received her B.S. in Chemistry. With an interest in applied chemistry, she went on to completed her PhD at the Medical University of South Carolina in Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Science. Her dissertation research focused on PFAS in wildlife including the American alligator and striped mullet. In her current position as a postdoc, Jackie investigates environmental exposures to PFAS in the human placenta and their impact on health. Jackie currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is apart of the NC PFAS Testing Network.

Dr. Zack Moore – zack.moore@dhhs.nc.gov 

Dr. Moore is the State Epidemiologist and chief of the Epidemiology Section in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, he works with staff to address existing and emerging health threats in the areas of communicable diseases, occupational and environmental health, and public health preparedness.

Julie Grzyb- julie.grzyb@ncdenr.gov 

Julie Grzyb (pronounced Gribb) works for NC DEQ’s, Division of Water Resources, as the Supervisor of the NPDES Complex Permitting Unit. She joined DWR ten years ago and her primary duties include overseeing the development and issuance of NPDES wastewater permits to major industrial and municipal facilities in NC.  Julie held group leader positions in the NPDES Permitting departments at the Ohio EPA and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Currently, Julie is working on a Management Strategy to address emerging contaminants discharged from major industrial and municipal facilities

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See our most recent research and presentation here below:

CHHEPoster.HRA (2) (2)

New York Moves to Regulate Industrial Contaminants

Thanks to partnerships with a team of scientists at NC State and EPA Laboratories, Haw River Assembly continues to voice concerns about industrial contaminants in our watershed, and investigate potential pathways of contamination. 

 


How Safe is your Drinking Water?

We have a new handout on our concerns about the levels of PFAS and 1.4-dioxane in the Haw River. Pittsboro is the only municipality in our watershed that uses the Haw River as it’s source for drinking water. Contamination from industrial chemicals in the upper part of the Haw River watershed are exceeding EPA health guidance standards.

Lack of Regulations for Emerging Contaminants: Gen X, 1,4- Dioxane, and Chromium 6

The EPA has set clear limitations on 90 drinking water contaminants, but there are hundreds of “emerging contaminants” which have only recommended advisories, and are not enforceable. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to identify and monitor drinking water contaminants. However, the EPA isn’t regulating these contaminants fast enough, leaving the safety of our drinking water at risk.

Link to the full article from NC Policy Watch here.


Chemours releases toxic Gen X into Cape Fear River

Gen X is a new generation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) used in many industrial applications. GenX and an earlier version of the chemical, PFOA, have likely been discharged into the Cape Fear River since the 1980s without Wilmington’s knowledge. Both GenX and PFOA have been shown in lab studies to cause tumors and reproductive problems. This contamination of public drinking water sources has illustrated how our current regulatory framework leads to potentially hazardous levels of these chemicals in our public drinking water…(read more) 

 


1,4- Dioxane in the Haw

The Haw River Assembly continues to be concerned about the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in Greensboro, Reidsville, Asheboro, and Pittsboro’s drinking water.  1,4-Dioxane is an industrial solvent that has been entering the Haw River via upriver municipal wastewater treatment plants for many years. Monitoring by scientists has shown it to be in high levels in the Haw River. Traditional treatment methods for drinking water do not remove this contaminant.  There has recently been some progress in the reduction of the contamination in the river, and in a decision by the Town of  Pittsboro to upgrade its treatment methods… (read more)

 


Pathways of Contamination

Municipal and Industrial Sludge Application

A report co-authored by the Haw and Catawba Riverkeepers in Oct. 2015, “Sludge in Our Waters,” revealed that industrial chemicals can contaminate drinking water supplies through stormwater runoff from land application of municipal wastewater sludge. Most industrial wastewater is treated in municipal wastewater treatment plants, and regulations do not require monitoring for these chemicals. During EPA’s study period for the advisory, large municipal water supplies in the Haw River watershed, including OWASA (serving Chapel Hill and Carrboro) and Greensboro were required to monitor for PFOS and PFOA. Both of these found PFASs in their source and/or finished drinking water, despite their water supply sources being much more protected than the Haw River. Another contaminant, the industrial solvent, 1.4-dioxane, was found in the Haw River. Similar to many PFASs, 1,4-dioxane is very difficult to remove in the drinking water treatment process… (read more)