FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Environmental Protection Agency plans to make a first-of-its-kind standard for public drinking water that sets out to protect people from dangerous chemicals called PFAS. But experts and people in areas affected by contaminated water say more needs to be done to produce water safe enough to drink.
People near the Chemours plant in Fayetteville say they still don't trust the tap water and are buying water by the bottle. One lady said even her dogs don't like the tap.
"Every day, I refresh them with clean, fresh water out of the water hose. But if it's rained or something, they would rather go over to the puddle and drink their water. It's ridiculous. Even my neighbor's like, 'why are they drinking the nasty water? But it's like, maybe they can tell the difference," said Tabitha Jacobs of Hope Mills.
Lee McDowell of Hoke County said, "I worry about other family that's got kids because the water wasn't like that when my kids were like that. But for the past few years, there's been a change in it. I worry about the kids, what it's doing to them and their health."
Geoff Gisler of the Southern Environmental Law Center filed its 2018 lawsuit that later forced Chemours to dramatically decrease emissions into the Cape Fear River from its Fayetteville Works plant by 99%. Gisler said it was a big win, but that providing safer drinking water means stopping contamination at its origin.
"(I)t's not enough to just catch the pollution after it's in the drinking water plant," Gisler said. "We should be looking at the source and keeping the pollution from ever leaving the source."
He said the center is still trying to stop other sources from contaminating the water located along the Cape Fear River basin.
"The next big step is for the Department of Environmental Quality and other state agencies, the EPA, to expand their scope of sources that they're focused in on... residents in Fayetteville, they are affected by sources of these toxic chemicals that are not Chemours," Gisler said.
The administration is aiming to enact the proposal by the end of the year. Companies would then have to be in compliance within three years.