DEQ Investigating Chemical Discharge In Cape Fear River Basin

Oct 16, 2019

The spill of 1,4 dioxane in Greensboro may have impacted levels downstream in the Cape Fear River Basin.
Credit Keith Weston / WUNC

The city of Greensboro says a contractor is responsible for dumping a potentially carcinogenic chemical into the water supply in the Cape Fear River Basin. 

Shamrock Environmental Corporation discharged 1, 4 dioxane into the water supply in August. It wasn't until last month that Greensboro notified the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality about the spill.

The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate 1,4 dioxane. It's a clear liquid that is found in paint strippers, soap, and personal care products.

City officials say they have developed an action plan with the state.

"It's continuous monitoring that we have in place," said Steven Drew, Greensboro's Water Resources Director. "The state also does its own monitoring and does with us what's called 'split sampling', so it's sort of a check and balance."

DEQ will test weekly for 1,4 dioxane at Greensboro's wastewater treatment plant. The city is cooperating with the investigation.