Cumberland County school tests positive for low levels of GenX


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The results are in and the water at one Cumberland County elementary school did test positive for low concentrations of GenX, a chemical used in manufacturing Teflon.

North Carolina officials tested the water at two elementary schools near the Chemours plant.  The other school came back with negative results.

A phone call and a letter went out to parents of the 500 students at Gray’s Creek Elementary School in Cumberland County.

RELATED: Click here for more coverage of the GenX issue

Some, like Kayla Denis, aren’t worried.

“It’s probably been in the water for years,” she said.

But after some parents voiced concern, the state tested the water of Gray’s Creek and Alderman Road Elementary since both schools are on well water and are within a four-mile radius of Chemours, the company that discharged GenX.

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The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says Alderman Road’s water came back with no GenX, but Gray’s Creek came back with a very low concentration, well within the state’s drinking water standards.

The state’s provisional drinking water health goal for GenX is 140 parts per trillion.  The results at Gray’s Creek showed 5.19 parts per trillion.

“Even at this low level, barely above the detection limit for GenX, it is safe for children to drink,” said Michael Scott, Director of the Division of Waste Management for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

The Cumberland County Schools Superintendent said the school system will continue to provide bottled water to both schools.

“Just an extra precaution, just to put the parents and staff’s mind at ease,” said Tim Kinlaw, interim superintendent for Cumberland County Schools.

The state also announced Friday it is directing Chemours to provide bottled water to 15 more private well owners in the area because their wells tested positive for GenX, bringing the total up to 50.

For Denis, she believes Gray’s Creek is doing everything it can to keep her daughter safe.

“I think that everything is going to be just fine,” she said.

Kinlaw said the school system is looking at long-term options, including extending Fayetteville city water service to the two schools.

He said the state is scheduling a public meeting with the Cumberland County Health Department to explain the impact of GenX to the Gray’s Creek community.

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