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Did Chemours Tell NC It Was Discharging GenX?

During the past two weeks, the StarNews has been examining Chemours’ latest application for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination (NPDES) permit, which is part of the Clean Water Act. In North Carolina, NPDES permits are issued and monitored by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Chemours and other companies that emit pollutants into waters such as rivers must report those substances – including those not specifically regulated by state or federal laws – on NPDES permit applications.

Joel A. Mintz, J.D.

Joel A. Mintz, J.D.

Joel A. Mintz, J.D., a professor of environmental law and enforcement at NSU’s Shepard Broad College of Law expressed skepticism when asked whether the manufacturing description referenced by DEQ fulfilled Chemours’ obligation to disclose the substances in its discharges. ″‘Wastewater generated from this manufacturing facility’ is a very general phrase,” he said. “It does nothing to alert the regulator – or anyone else – that GenX is a component of the ‘wastewater’ in question.”

Dr. Mintz also said, a company must test for and report all pollutants in its application for a NPDES permit. That requirement applies regardless of whether the EPA has established regulations or guidelines for the pollutant in question.

 

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