Drinking Water Safety

The Health Department is committed to the health and safety of New Hanover County residents. In response to GenX in Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s (CFPUA) water stream, the Health Department is working to learn more about its health impacts. The department is in regular contact with regulatory agencies and neighboring health departments to obtain the most up-to-date information for residents. Below is information that is currently known about the quality of CFPUA’s drinking water, as well as information about well water safety in the county.

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New Hanover County is working to ensure that the public is kept informed about the presence of GenX in Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s water supply and any impacts it may have on the community. Learn more about this issue and see the actions taken by the county so far at NHCgov.com/DrinkingWater.

On July 14, state regulators released the initial results of their GenX water sampling, as well as a revised health assessment. View the state’s press release here, as well as New Hanover County’s statement in response to the results here. Additional clarification from NC DHHS on health risks can be viewed here.

Read all of New Hanover County Health Department’s statements and news releases here.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in consultation with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is leading a state investigation into GenX, an unregulated chemical, in the lower Cape Fear River. DEQ has collected water samples from 12 sites along the Cape Fear River and the results of those samples can be viewed here.

Test results from water samples will be used to analyze drinking water safety and the EPA is developing an updated health screening level for GenX to help with this process. DHHS is reviewing all available health data and working with the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control to get their guidance about health risks of GenX. To learn more about the efforts of DEQ, click here.

In addition, DEQ’s Division of Water Resources is monitoring 1,4-dioxane, an emerging contaminant, at locations in the Cape Fear River basin. Learn more about their study here.

On July 14, state regulators released a revised health assessment for GenX. View the state’s press release here, as well as New Hanover County’s statement in response to the results here. Additional clarification from DHHS regarding GenX health risks can be viewed here.

On June 29, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) released information, after examining data from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry, that cancer rates in New Hanover County are generally similar to statewide rates of cancers. A copy of the summary can be viewed here. DHHS provided this information to answer questions raised about cancer during the ongoing investigation of GenX in the Cape Fear River. New Hanover County Health Director Phillip Tarte made a statement after learning this news, and it can be viewed here.

On June 16, NC DHHS provided public health officials with the following statement: DHHS is continuing to work with EPA and reviewing all available science to provide partners and the public with the most current health risk information for GenX. This includes continuing to refine and update the health screening level as new information becomes available. As a reminder, health screening levels are non-regulatory, non-enforceable levels that represent the level below which no adverse health effects would be expected. Any changes to health screening levels will be shared with partners as soon as possible. Currently, there is no change in our assessment that health effects are unlikely at the levels detected in the Cape Fear River during 2013-2014.

The New Hanover County Health Department wants to ensure residents are informed about well water safety and permitting. A list of frequently asked questions can be viewed here.

Information about well applications and permits can be viewed here.

Health: 2029 S. 17th Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-6500 • Fax 910-341-4146 • Medical Records Fax 910-772-7805
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815