Current or past sources of emerging contaminants should be aware that the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has ordered that publicly owned treatment plants (POTWs) in the Cape Fear River Basin test their influent for the presence of the emerging contaminants PFAS and 1,4-dioxane. PFAS and 1,4-dioxane have previously been detected in the Cape Fear River Basin. Twenty-five municipalities are involved, including Greensboro, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Cary and Chapel Hill. The testing began in July and will continue for three months.
To assist NCDEQ Division of Water Resources in developing a management strategy to reduce levels of these emerging contaminants, POTWs with approved Pretreatment Programs in the Cape Fear River Basin will be required to perform investigative monitoring for 1,4-dioxane and total PFAS. POTWs may also be required by the Department of Environmental Quality to identify potential sources of emerging contaminates.
The POTW investigations are in addition to the state-wide initiative to analyze samples from over 300 water supply intakes for the presence of emerging contaminants. The state could require investigations of more North Carolina additional river basins as more information is acquired.
Current or past owners or operators of identified sources may be subject to enforcement actions, citizen suits and civil suits. Womble Bond Dickinson has an experienced team of environmental and toxic tort attorneys to assist targeted owners or operators in conducting investigations, contesting enforcement actions and defending citizen suits and civil suits.