Ripples from GenX have continued to spread, with traces of the chemical compound now found in groundwater near the Chemours plant in Bladen County.

We suspect those ripples also will be felt when voters in the Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer district choose three commissioners for the board of what is known as H2GO. The Nov. 7 election could determine whether or not work continues on a $30 million reverse osmosis water treatment facility.

The plant would mean that 25,000 people would get water sourced from underground aquifers rather than from the Cape Fear River. Unlike river water and shallow wells, aquifers are deep underground and are generally not exposed to man-made chemicals. Aquifer water tends to have bacteria, dissolved solids and salts, impurities easily removed by reverse osmosis. In fact, deep-aquifer water filtered by reverse osmosis is pretty much the gold standard.

The last time we weighed in, we saw no compelling need for the plant. Since then, however, GenX has become a factor, and we also are learning about other so-called “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear.

We don’t know to what extent — if any — GenX and other contaminants might affect human health. There are many unknowns, but “unknowns” is not a word folks want associated with their drinking water. People must be able to trust that their water is completely safe. That trust has been eroded, and, for many people, is completely gone.

We are not panicking about drinking water from the Cape Fear. We are, however, less confident now in the river as the area’s longterm water supply. And, unfortunately, we have little reason to believe the current leadership in the General Assembly will do much of anything to address pollution in our waters, pollution that is likely to get worse as more “emerging contaminants” are discovered. And who knows what the Honorables in Raleigh and also the Trump Administration will target next as they aim to roll back important environmental regulations.

While the StarNews Editorial Board does not endorse candidates, we will say that the reverse osmosis plant makes a lot more sense to us today than it did originally. In addition to GenX, there is also last year’s supply line rupture to consider. That makes it hard to be skeptical of adding a high-volume, safe source of water.

We urge H2GO voters to become well-informed and get out and vote. They can help decide the source of the water that they drink every day. That is a unique opportunity, and, we’d argue, a vital responsibility.

— from the StarNews of Wilmington.


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