Report: Chemical plant releases went unchecked for years

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C (AP) — Environmental regulators did not inspect a North Carolina chemical facility for eight years even though it was under a federal agreement to prevent the release of a potentially toxic substance known as PFAS.

WRAL reports that the revelation was made in a report released Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general.

The report said that regulators didn't inspect the plant because they didn't know the agreement existed.

The report focuses on a Chemours facility in Bladen County, which is outside Fayetteville and near the Cape Fear River.

The plant was operating under a 2009 federal consent decree. It required the company to capture 99 percent of a chemical that it manufactures from any discharges it made into the river or the air. An onsite inspection didn't take place until 2017.

The plant manufactures a chemical known as GenX. It is part of a family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are commonly called PFAS. They are used in firefighting foams and other products. Some have been linked to cancer.

The inspector general’s report doesn’t say that Chemours violated the agreement. But in 2017, the company had said it would stop discharging the chemicals into the river.