As the presence of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in drinking water continues to make news across the state, the North Carolina Coastal Federation is building support for a statewide effort to detect these pollutants in our rivers and streams.

The federation is working closely with Duke engineering professor Dr. Lee Ferguson, who has spent his career figuring out how to detect emerging contaminants in water. Dr. Ferguson has collaborated with a number of other North Carolina scientists to propose a statewide monitoring program he calls NC-ECO – North Carolina Emerging Contaminants Observatory. NC-ECO would:

  • Establish the first statewide emerging contaminants monitoring program in the United States.
  • Create a system for early detection of emerging contaminants to avoid more GenX-like crises.
  • Locate the administrative headquarters for NC-ECO on the coast, at UNC-Wilmington.
  • Allow for immediate testing of emerging contaminants in drinking water throughout North Carolina.

Look for the General Assembly to consider GenX legislation during its special session, now scheduled for January. Next steps for the federation on this effort are meetings with representatives of Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration as well as various legislators to brief them on the proposal. We will also, of course, continue to monitor the legislative response to GenX and emerging contaminants.