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Evidence of NC DEQ Cover-up in 2012

... Because of releases of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) to the environment reported in other states, there is growing public concern over the manufacture and use of PFOA at a production facility in Fayetteville, NC...

The first several pages of the 2012 Memo & Report, including the sentence shown above, indicate that North Carolina's environmental agency was trying to make the unbelievable argument that PFAA chemicals (PFAS, PFOA, GenX, acid fluorides, fluorocarbons, etc.) are released to the environment in other states, but not in North Carolina. This makes no sense at all. The notion that fluorochemicals or fluorocarbons are used and manufactured at the Dupont Fayetteville Works site in North Carolina, but not released as pollutants into the air and water, would have been considered both false and preposterous way back in 2005, and earlier. Yet, in the 2012 Memo & Report the North Carolina Division of Air Quality seems to be passing along this false narrative to the agency's Water Quality staff, and the Science Advisory Board, as if it was the current scientific understanding. This is astonishing and misleading to such a degree that one could be forgiven for thinking it was written by a Dupont corporate public relations person located in Delaware.

... Data suggest the sources for APFO in groundwater at the facility are two surface impoundments and the APFO manufacturing unit. The twin surface impoundments contain water from the Cape Fear River that supplements the facility non-potable water supply...

Once again, the above paragraph completely ignores Dupont's large, existing Fluorochemicals Plant on the Cape Fear River that has released persistent fluorocarbons to the water and air for many years. No explanation is provided in the 2012 Memo & Report. The two impoundments mentioned above collect water upstream of Dupont Fayetteville Works. Trying to focus attention on the water upstream, while ignoring the chemical dischage downstream, is as short-sighted as a person with diarrhea using the toilet, observing the brownish water before flushing, and then complaining to the public utility that water coming into the house is nasty. The APFO operation discussed above was a state-of-the-art facility built decades later with minimal air and water emissions compared to the existing Fluorochemicals Plant. Also, the detection of PFOA in the groundwater in early 2003 was part of Dupont's baseline study associated with building the new start-of-the-art APFO facility. Dupont acknowledged during an air quality inspection back in 2004 that the groundwater contamination may have come from the existing Fluorochemicals Plant, but the North Carolina environmental agency appeared to be trying to suppress that information in 2005. It is disturbing that agency supervisors and managers in Raleigh were unaware of, or unwilling to report, this important information.

How was it possible in 2012 for the North Carolina Division of Air Quality supervisors and managers to be unaware of the Dupont Fluorochemicals Plant in Fayetteville and its emissions to air and water? Every year the company submitted an emissions report to the agency that estimated air emissions and indicated that PFAS chemicals removed by the air pollution control equipment (scrubbers) at their Fluorochemicals Plant were transferred to the wastewater. In addition, any environmental agency employee visiting Dupont Fayetteville Works and standing in the parking area to view the state-of-the-art APFO facility (also called the C8 plant) could have turned their head 90 degrees to see the existing, decades-old Fluorochemicals Plant. The new APFO facility was essentially a state-of-the-art "Mini-Me #1" with relatively low emissions to the environment. Similarly, the new, state-of-the-art GenX process was essentially "Mini-Me #2." On the other hand, by comparison, the enormous, decades-old Fluorochemicals Plant was the "Motherlode" of fluorocarbon emissions (PFAS, GenX, POA, acid fluorides, etc.) to air and water. Turn your head 90 degrees and you can't miss it. The Fluorochemicals Plant is enormous.

Is it possible that the envrionmental agency's Fayetteville office staff and inspectors, familiar with Dupont Fayetteville's operations and emissions reports, were completely excluded from seven years (2005-2012) of Agency study? Why did the North Carolina environmental agency's supervisors and managers spend so much time and energy on the state-of-the-art Mini-Me while essentially ignoring the Motherlode? Did the environmental agency's supervisors and managers simply rely on Dupont's Environmental Manager for their information about the site? Where was the agency's "healthy skepticism" about information provided solely by Dupont?

In summary, the first several pages of the 2012 Memo & Report suggest that the North Carolina environmental agency's supervisors, managers, and staff in Raleigh, working for many years on this project, knew very little about the Dupont Fayetteville Works site and/or were actively engaged in concealment and cover-up. As occurred previously in 2005, were the environmental agency's Fayetteville office staff and inspectors, the individuals who conducted inspections, reviewed the annual emissions reports, and were most familiar with Dupont Fayetteville Works, still being excluded from the project? Why?





New Information from 2004 Inspection

... Mr. Johnson indicated that they have detected perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, in one of their groundwater monitoring wells. This is quite surprising since the APFO plant only began operation in December 2002...

...He indicated that it might have been formed from a chemical reaction associated with a process stream not involving the APFO process...

... The acid fluorides are highly soluble in water, not readily emitted to the air during the wastewater process, and readily converted to fluorcarbons. The fluorocarbons are persistent chemicals that are not degraded by the microorganisms and remain unchanged as they are discharged to the river...





Inspection on September 24, 2004

Inspection 2004 Inspection 2004