GenX FAQ

Who is responsible for establishing drinking water standards?
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) charges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate contaminants. That guidance is then passed to state-level agencies (e.g., N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)), which regulate drinking water providers such as CFPUA. How does EPA decide which contaminants to regulate? The SDWA includes a process that EPA must follow to identify and list unregulated contaminants. This process may lead to a change in national drinking water standards. EPA periodically publishes this list of contaminants called the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL), and decides whether to regulate at least five or more contaminants on the list. EPA also uses the CCL to prioritize research and data collection efforts to help the agency determine whether it should regulate a specific contaminant. When EPA regulates a contaminant, public water systems follow that guidance and comply.


How does EPA decide which contaminants to regulate?
The SDWA includes a process that EPA must follow to identify and list unregulated contaminants. This process may lead to a change in national drinking water standards. EPA periodically publishes this list of contaminants called the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL), and decides whether to regulate at least five or more contaminants on the list. EPA also uses the CCL to prioritize research and data collection efforts to help the agency determine whether it should regulate a specific contaminant. When EPA regulates a contaminant, public water systems follow that guidance and comply.


Is EPA looking for other unregulated contaminants in the river?

The 1996 SDWA amendments require that once every five years EPA issue a new list of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems. CFPUA participates in these studies and provides sampling data to EPA. EPA information states that the mere presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate the water poses a health risk. There are many chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormones and other compounds in water sources. For this reason, it is not uncommon for contaminants such as GenX to be detected in the river. Ultimately, EPA decides which should be monitored and which should be regulated.


Who regulates drinking water providers in North Carolina?
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Public Water Supply Section regulates public water systems within the state and implements mandates of the SDWA. 


What is GenX?

According to DuPont Chemours, GenX is a technology developed to make high-performance polymers used in cabling, cookware non-stick coatings, laptops, cell phones, and a host of similar applications. The processing aid associated with the process is commonly referred to as GenX. GenX replaces the use of PFOA (perflurooctanaic acid).


What do we know about GenX?
We know that the EPA has not yet developed a drinking water regulation for this contaminant and that there is limited information available on it. Ultimately, EPA will determine potential impacts and safety standards.


What is a contaminant?
The EPA’s Web site states, “The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) defines ‘contaminant’ as any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water. Drinking water may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. Some contaminants may be harmful if consumed at certain levels in drinking water. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk.”


Is our water safe to drink?
According to all state and federal regulators, our water still meets primary and secondary drinking water standards. However, Dr. Larry Cahoon recently said on WECT "My advice has generally been that pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, small children, you probably want to think hard about not letting them drink tap water..."


When did H2GO learn about GenX?
H2GO learned about GenX the same time the general public did, when the StarNews report came out. H2GO was not aware of the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River, or the study performed by researchers from N.C. State University, until recent media reports.


What studies are available?
See here

Should I drink bottled or distilled water?
The health needs and situations of individuals vary widely and the use of bottled water or distilled water is an individual decision that should be discussed with your physician. It should be noted that the makeup of bottled water is dependent on its source and treatment process and distilled water is devoid of essential minerals. Water from H2GO meets all EPA and state primary and secondary standards regarding water quality.


With GenX in the Cape Fear River, what can/will H2GO do to ensure the water is safe?
H2GO will continue our plans to construct a Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant to decrease our customer's reliance on the Cape Fear River. 
To view H2GO’s water quality reports, with information about H2GO’s water system, click here.


Does H2GO currently monitor for GenX?
H2GO is committed to insuring safe drinking water is supplied to our customers. In that light, we have committed to a biweekly sampling and testing program to determine the presence and level of the following perfluorinated alkyl acids in our drinking water supplies. Sampling will start the week of June 26th. We will post the results as they become available.


Can customers put a filter on their tap to remove GenX?
According to Dr. Larry Cahoon with UNCW and Dr. Detlef Knappe with NC State, home RO systems may remove it. However, please research and be cautious before spending money on an in-home reverse osmosis water filter system. If the in-home system is not capable of removing organics with a molecular weight around 100 daltons, it’s probably not going to remove the GenX chemical from your tap water.


Will there be a public meeting to discuss?
At this time, a public meeting has not been scheduled regarding GenX. If one is scheduled, it will be posted here.


Was H2GO at the closed door meeting with officials and Chemorous?
H2GO requested to be involved in discussions with officials and Chemorous, but was denied. We were informed that Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams would be representing our area at the meeting.


EPA Fact Sheet on PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water
Detlef Knappe Answers to Ann McAdams 06/27/2017