Jul 13, 2020

Nonprofit Distributes Free POU Filters to New Hanover County, North Carolina, Residents

The nonprofit, North Carolina Stop GenX in Our Water, received funds to distribute POU filters to low-income residents

POU, genx, pfas contamination

A North Carolina nonprofit has secured a grant to distribute free point-of-use (POU) filters to low-income residents in New Hanover County. The group, North Carolina Stop GenX in Our Water, is operating under its first grant, reported Port City Daily.

The group is distributing 150 Hydroviv filters to low-income households in the community. The income limit to receive one filter and one replacement cartridge is $25,000 a year individually and limited to one filter per household, according to Port City Daily.

The selected filter, Hydroviv filters, were tested by lead researcher Dr. Detlef Knappe and his team of statewide researchers in February 2020. The researchers found that out of 16 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) tested, this particular filter removed the majority.

New Hanover County receives its drinking water from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) which sources its water from the Cape Fear River. The Cape Fear has had known PFAS and GenX contamination since 2017 when GenX was discovered in the Cape Fear River at 700 parts per trillion (PPT). While concentrations of PFAS in finished drinking water treated by the utility have decreased in 2020, contamination still remains notable. As of May 2020, of the 42 PFAS the utility tests for, the finished drinking water had 41 ppt combined PFAS.

According to Port City Daily, CFPUA is undergoing plant upgrades currently to better treat these contaminants. Beth Kline-Markesino, founder of North Carolina Stop GenX in Our Water and a prior activist combating the Flint water crisis when she lived in Michigan, also called out public schools as an area of concern for the PFAS contamination. While the idea was previously discussed, public schools impacted in the area do not have current plans to install RO stations by August, when children likely will be returning to the classroom. However, Kline-Markesino remains optimistic about the new grant program.

“To have this program starting, I’m really hoping to let everybody know, 'hey, this problem hasn’t gone away,'” Kline-Markesino told Port City Daily. 

In 2018, WQP interviewed Dr. Jane Hoppin, associate professor at North Carolina State University and principal investigator for the GenX Exposure Study, on the impact of PFAS contamination on the community of Wilmington, North Carolina, as well as research efforts underway to better understand/manage the contamination. Read the full-length feature discussing the impact.

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