Filters don't fade GenX concerns for Cumberland residents

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- When you think of people without clean drinking water you likely think of Flint, Michigan, but southern Cumberland County is dealing with contaminated water issues of its own.

Dozens of people near the Chemours plant are still living off bottled water.

Frances Minshew should be enjoying her golden years but instead, she's trying to figure out how to survive them.

"It's like camping out, camping out in a house. You know how it feels when you're in a camper? Actually, it's worse," said Minshew

Last year, GenX leaked out of the Chemours plant and into the Cape Fear River, a well water source for residents nearby.

Since then, Minshew has been living on bottled water after the DEQ found high levels of Gen-X in her well.

"It scares me to death because I just had cancer," said Minshew.

As part of a court order, Chemours put in a filtration system to see how well it could keep GenX out, but in the meantime, the DEQ said Minshew must keep her hands off the faucet.

"They told us not to drink our water, they advised us not to eat anything out of our gardens," said Minshew.

However, that's easier said than done.

"If you forget to use the bottles you end up messing up something like if you're cooking sometimes I forget and pour sink water in there, " said Minshew.

Minshew and her neighbors aren't the only ones having to live this way.

Cumberland County Schools said two of their elementary schools along the river will remain on bottled water this upcoming school year.