Chemours agrees to pay for Vienna water filters

May 22, 2016
By JEFFREY SAULTON ([email protected]) , Parkersburg News and Sentinel

VIENNA – Water woes will be a thing of the past for Vienna residents after an announcement from Chemours.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said Chemours has agreed to foot the bill for the installation of water filters in the city’s water treatment plant.

“They will pay 100 percent of the bill to install carbon filters in the city,” he said Saturday. “Work on this will begin immediately.”

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton

More than 200,000 bottles of water donated by Chemours arrived at the Vienna Utility Board garage Saturday. Craig Metz, public works director, said they received 10,000 cases of 24 one-liter bottles. Distribution of the cases will begin at 8 a.m. Monday at the garage behind the Vienna Utility Board office at 210 60th St. Two more tractor trailers of bottled water donated by the Salvation Army are expected to arrive Monday.

Activated carbon filters removes traces of perflurooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA and C8, from water supplies. They were installed at a number of local water service districts as part of settlement of a 2001 law suit charging DuPont of releasing the chemical.

Rapp said he understood the company will bring in temporary filters as construction begins on a permanent filtering facility.

An advisory to not drink water from the Vienna Water Department was issued Thursday after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dropped the safe level of C8 from 0.4 parts per billion to 0.07 parts per billion.

Distribution of water trucked in from other areas began Friday and distribution of water bottles will begin at 8 a.m. Monday from the Vienna Utility Board garage at 210 60th St. in Vienna.

Two more tractor trailers of bottled water donated by the Salvation Army are expected to arrive Monday.

Until 2013, C8 was used in the manufacture of Teflon at the DuPont Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg along the Ohio River. In 2015, DuPont spun off its performance chemicals division, of which Teflon is among a number of products, into Chemours.

In an e-mailed statement Saturday, a company spokeswoman said the company will install and pay for the filters.

“Chemours expects to cover the cost of installing and operating the GAC water treatment at Vienna,” the statement said. “Even before EPA announced its health advisory number of 70 parts per trillion (or 0.07 parts per billion), Chemours proactively worked in cooperation with EPA to gather technical information needed to design a system compatible with Vienna’s water treatment.

“We expect the treatment will be operational in a matter of months, if not sooner,” it said.

“State and local agencies have taken various steps in reaction to the EPA Health Advisory, and some of those reactions appear inconsistent with our understanding of the EPA guidance,” the statement said. “Chemours is communicating with the City of Vienna and has committed to contribute alternative water to bridge what we hope to be a very short gap until the GAC treatment is in place. Chemours also continues to explore other technical solutions that may be less inconvenient for the residents of Vienna until the GAC treatment is in place.”

Recent studies indicate a probable link between exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels and developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants such as low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations; testicular and kidney cancer, liver damage, immune effects, thyroid effects and cholesterol changes.