North Carolina Environmental Quality Investigating 1,4 Dioxane Release

Raleigh, NC (STL.News) The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is investigating the discharge of 1,4  reported by the City of Greensboro. According to city officials, the chemical came from Shamrock Environmental Corporation.  However, the discharge permit for the pretreatment program is held by the City of Greensboro and DEQ is pursuing appropriate enforcement for all identified permit violations.

DEQ was notified by Greensboro on September 27 that an unspecified amount of 1,4 dioxane was released in August by an unnamed industrial discharger under the city’s pretreatment program.  The city indicated that the discharge was detected and ceased and officials are cooperating with the investigation.  As a result, DEQ has initiated weekly sampling for 1,4 dioxane at Greensboro’s wastewater treatment plant.

EPA has identified 1,4 dioxane as a likely human carcinogen. 1,4-dioxane is a clear liquid that is highly miscible in water.  It has historically been used as a solvent stabilizer and is currently used for a wide variety of industrial and manufacturing purposes.  The compound can be found in industrial solvents, paint strippers, and varnishes and is often produced as a by-product of chemical processes to manufacture soaps, plastics, and other consumer products.

DEQ is requiring publicly owned utilities with pretreatment programs to screen for a set of emerging compounds, including 1,4 dioxane, in wastewater.

The N.C. Division of Water Resources (DWR) sent letters to municipalities with pretreatment programs to conduct screening for 1,4 dioxane and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, for three consecutive months starting in July.  This effort is part of an ongoing management strategy to address some of these compounds in surface water and biosolids.