Recap of January 25, 2017 H2GO Town Hall Meeting/Expert Panel
Analies Dyjak, Hydroviv Policy Analyst
This past Thursday, January 25th, H2GO and a local news agency hosted an informative meeting to update the public on the GenX crisis that’s unfolding in Brunswick County, North Carolina. The forum consisted of 3 scientists, 2 representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), local utility providers, and a packed audience of concerned citizens. The mission of the meeting was to communicate to residents any recent actions and discoveries in this public health debacle.
Meeting Topic: NC State Reporting On The Effectiveness Of Water Filters Against GenX
The chief scientist in charge of the GenX study, Dr. Detlef Knappe, shared his most recent data on 7 systems tested by his North Carolina State laboratory; 5 whole house reverse osmosis systems, 1 whole house granular activated carbon system, and 1 whole house granular activated carbon & ion exchange resin system. Dr. Knappe concluded that the whole house reverse osmosis systems were the most effective at removing GenX from drinking water.
Our Comment: It's no surprise to our science team that granulated activated carbon filters are not effective against highly soluble PFAS like GenX, particularly at the whole house level. We were, however, a bit surprised that there was no talk about some of the other water filters (like ours), which are in the homes of Wilmington residents, and have been shown to produce GenX and PFAS free water (report can be viewed here).
Meeting Topic: Growing Concern About Other PFASs
The public forum made it clear that the scientists and Brunswick County residents are becoming more and more concerned with other perfluroalkyl and polyfluroalkyl subscances (PFASs) that are also present in the Cape Fear River. The scientists concluded that they know even less about these contaminants, which is troubling considering how little is known about GenX.
Our Take: While the presence of other PFASs are new to the nationwide press, they are not new to the scientific community. Dr. Knappe's work has been going on for quite some time, and is highly-respected by the environmental science community (including our science team). It's likely that GenX captured more attention than many other chemicals because it has an ominous (but easy to pronounce) nickname.
Meeting Topic: Comments From State Regulatory Agencies
A representative from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) shared the three requests made by the Governor to the Environmental Protection Agency; expedite water quality data on GenX, expedite the risk assessment so that national and state standards could be set, and review the consent order under the Toxic Substance Control Act.
Our Take On This: This feels a bit like grandstanding, becasue there are thousands of unregulated contaminants that are currently “in review” by the EPA, and the Clean Water Act only allows a MAXIMUM of 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored in drinking water every 5 year period. The timescales for progress in these types of things are measured in decades, not months. For reference, chromium 6, whose toxicity and occurrence in US drinking water systems has been established for decades, is still not regulated. This is despite being the fact that it was made famous by the Erin Brockovich Movie (released in 2000).
What Is Hydroviv Doing To Help Remediate Perfluorinated Compounds (Including GenX) In Drinking Water?
As a company, we're not really in a position to push for long-term regulatory changes, but we have heavily invested in a rapid R&D program to develop a water filter that is optimized for GenX removal. Unlike reverse osmosis filters, our system does not require the user to drill a hole in their drain pipe or countertop, so our water filters can be used by homeowners and renters alike.
Of course, our Water Nerds are also standing by to answer questions about GenX, PFASs, regulatory policy.... even if you have no intention of purchasing one of our filters. Open a chat line on our homepage with one of our Water Nerds or send us an email at email@example.com.Other Articles We Think You'll Enjoy
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What Problems Do Most People Have With Reverse Osmosis Water Filters?
- Water Experts