State takes action to manage emerging compounds in wastewater

Raleigh, NC

State environmental officials are requiring towns with pretreatment programs in the Cape Fear River Basin to monitor for a set of emerging compounds starting this summer.

The N.C. Division of Water Resources (DWR) recently sent a letter to 25 municipalities requiring monitoring 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.

Emerging compounds, such as 1,4 dioxane and PFAS, do not currently have federal water quality standards. Data reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indicated elevated concentrations of these compounds in drinking water that originated from the Cape Fear River Basin. In addition, monitoring performed by the state DWR has confirmed the presence of these compounds in surface waters within the Cape Fear River Basin.

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. PFAS compounds are most often associated with nonstick coatings, plating operations, firefighting foams, and stain- and water-resistant treatments for clothing, furniture and carpeting.

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