Memorandum of Agreement with the City of Burlington

“This agreement and investigation takes us one step closer to making the Haw River cleaner and safer,” said Kelly Moser, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents Haw River Assembly. “With the city’s cooperation, we can identify the source of the PFAS and 1,4-dioxane pollution in Burlington’s treatment systems much more quickly than through litigation. Once the source is identified, the city can and should take steps to stop the pollution.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Burlington will investigate the sources of industrial pollution into its wastewater treatment systems that are causing the city to discharge PFAS chemicals and 1,4-dioxane into the Haw River. The city will conduct extensive sampling throughout its treatment systems over the next several months under the agreement.

“Haw River Assembly has been studying and working to stop PFAS pollution in the Haw River since 2015,” explained Emily Sutton, Haw Riverkeeper. “Burlington’s treatment plant is a main source of the PFAS in the river, and we are glad this important investigation is moving forward. We are committed to eliminating these toxic chemicals from the river to protect the communities who depend on it.” Press release here

HRA takes legal action to stop industrial contaminants from Burlington

In November 2019, Southern Environmental Law Center filed a Notice of Intent to City of Burlington regarding their PFAS and 1,4 Dioxane discharges from several locations, including their wastewater treatment plant and land applied sludge fields. This is a violation of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. See the full press release here.

Additionally, we are partnering with Duke University and NC State to do public health forums and studies in Pittsboro. Dr. Heather Stapleton has been collecting samples from Pittsboro drinking water users to test PFAS levels in their home drinking water taps and in their blood.

We are continuing to review NCDEQ’s sampling data and work with academic labs to collect and process samples to pinpoint other sources.