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Proposed Bill Would Allocate $50 Million To Remove PFAS From Fayetteville Drinking Water

Source: NC Newsline

A bill introduced in the state senate recently proposes allocating $50 million in state funds to the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. The aim is to facilitate the installation of an advanced treatment system, targeting the removal of toxic PFAS contaminants from the city’s drinking water supply. Sponsored by State Sen. Val Applewhite, who represents Fayetteville, Senate Bill 780 addresses a pressing concern for the community.

Recent regulations set by the EPA mandate drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion. However, Fayetteville has struggled to meet these standards due to consistently high levels of these compounds in its water sources. Concentrations at the Hoffer plant have often exceeded the limit by one and a half to three times, while levels at the Glenville Lake plant have been up to six times higher.

PFAS exposure has been linked to a range of health issues, from thyroid and liver disorders to reproductive problems and certain cancers. The contamination of Fayetteville’s water sources, namely the Cape Fear River and Glenville Lake, stems from industrial discharge, posing significant challenges for traditional treatment methods.

To address this, utilities must invest in advanced treatment systems, costing tens of millions of dollars, which ultimately burden customers with increased expenses. The Fayetteville Public Works Commission has identified Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) as the most effective method for removing PFAS. While transitioning to GAC, the utility plans to upgrade its current Powdered Activated Carbon system as a temporary measure, albeit less efficient.

Construction for the powdered upgrades is set to commence this spring, with completion expected by April 2026. The granular upgrade aims to be operational by February 2028, a year ahead of the EPA deadline, pending funding availability. Despite the Biden administration’s allocation of $1 billion to aid utilities in compliance efforts, additional funding may still be necessary to fully address the PFAS contamination issue.

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