Contamination in Cape Fear River raises water safety concerns

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A recent contamination of the water near Wilmington by the chemical GenX has many people in the Cape Fear Basin on edge.

While no one in the 9OYS viewing area is impacted by this contamination, it does highlight a much larger issue.

“Water is life, said Heather Jacobs Deck, Pamlico-Tar riverkeeper. “We can’t survive without clean water. Our economies can’t survive without access to clean water.”

The recent GenX contamination in the lower Cape Fear River has people wondering how safe their water is.

Deck said the situation highlights a bigger problem.

“One of the big keys that I know we have here in the state and also on the federal level is that our regulatory agencies, those that are really in charge of protecting our water resources, are continuing to be under-funded,” Deck said.

The underfunding may translate to confusion for companies and consumers alike.

The Onslow Water and Sewer Authority said their customers are not impacted by the recent contamination.

“We do not use any surface water sources,” said Jeffery Hudson, ONWASA CEO. “We tap in to ancient, underground aquifers here in Onslow County that have no connection whatsoever with surface water or the Cape Fear River, the New River or the ocean,” said Hudson.

Riverkeepers agree that GenX is not the only thing people should be concerned with.

“It does require a lot of studies and information,” said Deck. “There are new chemicals and new things coming out on the market all the time and our agencies are responsible for know what those chemicals mean for public health, and for the environment and frankly they don’t have enough resources to be able to do that.”

The EPA has said they are working to gather more information on GenX. The agency did not indicate how long it would take to get answers.

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