WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality held a public meeting and hearing Monday on a draft air permit for Chemours to install and operate a thermal oxidizer/scrubber system for emission control at its Fayetteville Works Facility.
The system is supposed to significantly reduce emissions of PFAS, GenX and other pollutants coming from the facility.
This permit is focused solely on air emissions from the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility, and the final draft will determine how Chemours will be required to reduce emissions.
Distrust was evident at the meeting aimed at reducing Chemours’ emissions. One concerned citizen who attended said he does not believe the permit proposed by the NCDEQ Department of Air Quality will do enough to keep to emissions at bay.
About a dozen community members showed up to the Monday night meeting, many concerned that more would have been there if they knew about it.
As it stands, that draft permit would require Chemours to reduce air emissions of PFAS and GenX by 99%. The permit would also require Chemours to conduct quarterly and annual testing to ensure everything is operating as it should be.
Bruce Skinner, who attended the meeting, raised questions about the draft permit and was skeptical emissions could be reduced by that amount.
“Well that’s huge. Initially they were telling us they emitted 60 pounds per year. Turns out it’s 2300 and the 1% will allow them 23 pounds. That’s not much at all. I understand the goal and I understand that will be how they have to operate or they will be cited for not doing so,” he said.
Skinner also found other shortcomings in the draft.
“There’s several complications to have the process leak-tight. The permit did not say what would happen if the parameters were not met and it looks like some of the instrumentation would be single instruments. I’d like to have dual instruments with two percent agreeing or you shut down. If we’re going to monitor it close, let’s monitor it close,” he said.
Skinner and others raised questions as to who will hold Chemours responsible for upholding its responsibilities.
“I think we need a third watchdog group, probably something like a citizen’s alliance that would be kept up to speed by the Department of Air Quality to try to listen, monitor, and say what’s going on in the community. Right now we have DAQ and we have Chemours, they seem to be working well together but I think we need a third group to check and make sure everything is as it should be,” he said.
The public comment period on this draft permit ends at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 but the public is also able to submit comments via email or mail. A final permit will be decided on by early April.
To submit comments via email, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Chemours 18B” in the subject line.
Written comments can be mailed to: NC DEQ Division of Air Quality, 1641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1641
The Division of Air Quality will consider all public comments and other available information about the permit before deciding whether to issue the final permit.
The draft permit can be found online.