AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE "PFAS TASK FORCE" TO IDENTIFY AND ANALYZE ALL PER- AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES (PFAS) IN THE LOWER CAPE FEAR RIVER BASIN; TO IDENTIFY THEIR SOURCE OF DISCHARGE AND THEIR HEALTH IMPACT ON THE HUMAN POPULATION THEREIN; TO ESTABLISH ALLOWABLE MAXIMUM HEALTH STANDARDS FOR EXPOSURE TO PFAS; AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE IMMEDIATE REPLACEMENT AND/OR UPGRADE OF DRINKING WATER SYSTEMS, INCLUDING PRIVATE WELLS, WITHIN THE AFFECTED AREA.
Requires the Department of Environmental Quality to establish the PFAS Task Force, which must take seven specified actions, including undertaking a comprehensive, non-targeted, scientific identification and analysis of all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including GenX compounds, and other chemical contaminants of emerging interest, including 1,4-Dioxane, found in ground and surface waters, private wells, air, soil, dust, food, and locally produced garden and farm products within the Lower Cape Fear River Basin, and the streams and tributaries contained therein; identifying all public and private parties responsible for the discharge or emissions of such contaminants; and reviewing and updating the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements and the appropriateness of the amount of sanctions and remedies that may be assessed under State law for noncompliance with State environmental requirements. Requires that the work be completed by December 31, 2020, and requires quarterly reports until then, beginning July 1, 2019, to the Environmental Review Commission. Specifies that the Task Force will serve as a pilot program for establishment of future statewide initiatives to aggressively examine and resolve public health concerns as a result of the discharge of illegal toxic contaminants into the public realm.
Repeals GS 150B-19.3, which prohibits any agency authorized to implement State and federal environmental laws from adopting rules for protection of the environment that impose a more restrictive standard, limitation, or requirement than those imposed by a federal law or rule, unless adoption of the rule is required under any of five exceptions. Makes conforming changes to GS 130A-309.207 (rule making for Environmental Management Commission). Makes conforming changes to GS 130A-309.226 (amendment to rule regarding use of coal combustion products for structural fill).
Amends GS 143-215.2A to require a person responsible for the discharge or release of industrial waste that includes PFAS resulting in the contamination of a public or private water supply to establish permanent replacement water supplies (was, applicable only when the contamination was of a private drinking water well), when directed by the Secretary upon the Governor's direction. Makes conforming changes to the definition of affected party. Amends the definition of contamination to mean an exceedance of 10 ppt for a single PFAS compound, and a cumulative threshold of 25 ppt where three or more PFAS compounds are detected for any chemical classified as a PFAS. If a permanent replacement water supply is required, it must be through installation of a filtration system or connection to a public water system. Makes conforming changes.
Requires the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), with the assistance of regional utility providers, to identify all affected parties.
Requires the State Controller to transfer $270 million from the Savings Reserve account to the General Fund for 2019-20 to execute agreements with appropriate contractors for the installation of filtration systems for all identified affected parties. Requires DEQ to seek cost recovery from the responsible parties.
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