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City Responds About 1,4 Dioxane Release

Post Date:10/15/2019 4:00 PM

Since 2014, 1,4-dioxane has become a topic of discussion and concern in North Carolina among certain municipal wastewater dischargers and the state's Division of Water Resources (DWR).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included 1,4-dioxane as one of 28 chemicals in the Drinking Water Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3) Study conducted from 2013-15.

A recent sampling study in the Cape Fear River basin conducted by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has confirmed the existence of 1,4-dioxane in the water and that it was from Greensboro.

A significant release of 1,4-dioxane on August 7, 2019 was the result of an error on the part of a local industry. The City's Water Resources Department reported the high level through its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, established by the state. Subsequent monitoring has demonstrated the level has returned to normal low range. The name of the company involved is Shamrock Environmental Corporation. Releases came from its consolidated waste processing facility located in Greensboro’s Bryan Park Industrial Complex. 

Water Resources first began an investigation into the source of 1,4-dioxane at North Buffalo Water and TZ Osborne reclamation facilities in March 2015. By the end of 2015, a significant source had been identified and Shamrock immediately initiated a voluntary source reduction program. 

Since then, Water Resources has been proactive in working with NCDEQ and Shamrock to develop a management strategy to minimize the release of 1,4-dioxane as much possible. Through City and industry efforts, more than 80 percent reduction in the amount of 1,4-dioxane released has now been achieved.

This organic chemical is one of many found in trace quantities in both ground and surface waters throughout the US. Uses and sources of 1,4-dioxane include:

  • Industrial solvent stabilizer
    • Found in paint strippers, varnishes, soaps, make-up and personal care products, antifreeze, etc.
  • Unintended by-product in manufacturing and recycling of certain plastic and polyester products.