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Cumberland board meeting adjourned when majority fails to show up

Agenda included plan to combat forever chemicals in county well water

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A called meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners was canceled Monday evening because a majority of the commissioners did not attend.

County Manager Amy Cannon had been expected to ask the board to consider creating two more water and sewer districts to combat a growing accumulation of forever chemicals in part of the county’s well-water supply.

But board Chairman Glenn Adams adjourned the meeting moments after the 6 p.m. start time.

The new water and sewer districts would serve an existing district in the Linden and Vander areas in an effort to stem the pollution of drinking water by forever chemicals that leech into the Cape Fear River and groundwater.

The chemical compound GenX is a byproduct of the manufacturing process used by Chemours chemical company. Formerly known as DuPont, the company has a plant on the Cumberland and Bladen county line. In 2017, chemicals associated with Chemours’ manufacturing process were discovered in the Cape Fear River. Since then, additional chemical contaminants have been found in hundreds of private wells.

Adams and Vice Chairwoman Toni Stewart and Commissioner Jeannette Council attended Monday’s meeting. Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Michael Boose, Jimmy Keefe and Charles Evans were absent.

Adams said he was not aware beforehand that a majority of the commissioners would not attend Monday’s meeting.

In the past, board members who could not attend a meeting in person had the option to participate by phone or online stream.

Former commissioners Chairman Marshall Faircloth, currently an at-large candidate for a seat on the board, said he was surprised and concerned that a majority of commissioners failed to show up for the meeting just a week before the state is scheduled to hold a public information session about chemicals in private wells in the county.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public information session at 6 p.m. July 26 at the Crown Coliseum complex. Registration starts at 5:30.

Assistant County Manager Brian Haney said Monday evening’s meeting will be rescheduled.

Cumberland County, commissioners, Chemours, pollution