The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has assessed $305,611 in penalties in the recent enforcement action against Chemours for exceeding the facility wide GenX annual air emissions limit.
“DEQ is holding Chemours accountable and ensuring they meet the requirements of their permit at all times,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “They must uphold their obligations to reduce PFAS impacts to their neighbors in the community.”
Under the stringent emissions requirements in the facility’s air permit, Chemours must demonstrate compliance with the GenX emission limit of 23.027 pounds per year, using a rolling 12-month calculation. This limit equates to a 99% percent reduction from GenX emissions in 2017. Although the permit expiration date was March 31, 2021, the permit has remained in effect under state law due to Chemours’s timely filing for renewal of the permit.
Excess GenX emissions in March 2021 resulted in noncompliance with the rolling 12-month limits for the seven months from March through September of 2021.
Based on the information reviewed by DAQ as part of its investigation, including the stack test results and the written response by Chemours to DAQ’s Notice of Violation and Notice of Recommendation for Enforcement, at a minimum, DAQ determined the Carbon Adsorber Unit was not properly operated or maintained from the date of the stack test (9 March 2021) until the date of the change out of the carbon in the Carbon Adsorber unit (6 April 2021). The total operating days during this time period is 26 days.
DAQ issued the civil penalty assessment based on the facility permit provisions and the agency’s statutory enforcement authority. The annual GenX air emissions limit in the Consent Order entered by DEQ, Chemours, and Cape Fear River Watch was effective until DAQ issued an equal or more stringent limit in the permit.
The civil penalty assessment outlines the series of actions Chemours will implement for continued, longer-term improvements. A copy of the assessment and related data is available here.