The DEQ required 25 utilities in the basin to test for “forever chemicals” at their sewer treatment plants for three months. One scientist called the results of those tests “incredibly high.”
A water sample taken in September from the Sanford sewage treatment plant that discharges into Deep River uncovered “staggering” concentrations of forever chemicals, newly released documents from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality reveal.
The sample contained perfluorooctanesulfonic acid — or PFOS — measuring 1,000 parts per trillion. That is more than 14 times greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for drinking water.
The data coming out of Sanford is just one example of the high levels of potentially carcinogenic chemicals that a new monitoring program has detected in rivers and streams throughout the Cape Fear River basin, from Reidsville to Wilmington.
From July to September, the DEQ required 25 utilities in the basin to test for 19 or more different types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, at their wastewater treatment plants. The DEQ made the data public in mid-January.
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