Greensboro reports elevated level of 1,4 dioxane discharge, potential impact to downstream water systems


The City of Greensboro has reported a discharge of 1,4 dioxane into South Buffalo Creek in the effluent from the TZ Osborne Wastewater Treatment Plant that may impact downstream water intakes within the next few days. Greensboro reported sampling results to the North Carolina Division of Water Resources this afternoon. Municipalities with drinking water intakes downstream, including Pittsboro and Fayetteville, have been notified and additional sampling is underway at the Pittsboro raw water intake.

Preliminary results of the grab sample show levels from 543 ug/L (micrograms per liter) to 687 ug/L in the T.Z. Osborne plant effluent.  Based on that information and the current stream flow data, levels of 1,4 dioxane in the Pittsboro drinking water source may exceed the EPA’s Drinking Water Health Advisory Level of 35 ug/L based on a 1 in 10,000 cancer risk for lifetime exposure. 

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 purposes.


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