1,4-Dioxane levels double EPA threshold

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PITTSBORO — The fears of Pittsboro town staff were confirmed on Friday when raw water samples from the Haw River — which serves as Pittsboro’s source for drinking water — came back with high concentrated levels of 1,4-Dioxane. 

This comes after the City of Greensboro dispersed over 21 times the EPA’s recommended threshold of 1,4-Dioxane into the Haw River on Nov. 3. 

Town Manager Chris Kennedy originally told the public through a press release it was believed the slug had passed through Pittsboro during a time when the water treatment plant was not taking in water. However, the latest lab results from the Haw River’s water samples seem to indicate the slug is just hitting Pittsboro. 

“It is clear that 1,4-Dioxane contamination from Greensboro traveled slower than first anticipated and has reached and negatively affected the Town of Pittsboro’s raw water intake and overall water distribution system,” Kennedy said in his latest press release. 

“Raw grab” samples taken from the river on Nov. 17 show 1,4-Dioxane levels of 80.7 parts per billion, over double than the day before when levels were at 38.1 parts per billion. Treated samples came back as having 37.6 parts per billion of 1,4-Dioxane, indicating the treated water is now over the EPA’s recommended threshold of 35 parts per billion. While those levels are above the EPA’s recommended threshold for 1,4-Dioxane, the drinking water stored in the tanks throughout town are still showing levels below the recommended 35 parts per billion. 

Kennedy said the town is awaiting Greensboro’s test results on their water supply to see if staff can get an idea of the extent of the 1,4-Dioxane contamination. 

“Town staff is also awaiting sample results from Greensboro to determine concentration levels upstream of Pittsboro that will likely predict concentration levels of 1,4-Dioxane in Pittsboro’s drinking water in the coming days,” he said in the press release. 

Pittsboro residents can access treated water from BMC Brewing, according to owners John and Carmen Rice. They told the News + Record in an email Sunday morning they are giving out treated water to those who need it at their brewery. 

“We have asked that recipients help us by buying a pint or cookie and posting on their social media, but we are willing to give the water to anybody who just comes in and is in need,” they said in the email. “We recently had a volunteer drop off several 5-gallon water jugs so even people without a jug can get water.”

Town staff will not receive the results from their Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 water samples until Monday, according to Kennedy. 

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com.


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