Cumberland County News

Substance 1,4 Dioxane found in Cape Fear River worries some

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) - Last year it was Gen-X, now there’s another chemical with possible ties to cancer showing up in Fayetteville’s water source.

The tap water looks clear -- some people even fish in the river it came from -- but Dieter Council says he’d never drink the tap or eat anything out of the Cape Fear River.

“No, I wouldn't feed it to any of the animals,” said Council.

He worries there’s something that you can’t see in the water.

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“I think that the quality of water that is here is not good for the people, it’s not good for the environment,” said Council.

And according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, it’s not.  They say there’s something in here that can make you sick.

“The presence of 1,4 dioxane,” said DEQ Spokesperson Bridget Munger.

The substance 1,4 Dioxane is a solvent that according to researchers is used to make chemicals, adhesives, sealants, and can cause cancer.

The N.C. DEQ says high levels of it are the Cape Fear River, and they say their research shows it’s all coming from waste-water treatment plants that can’t get rid of the carcinogen.

“These treatment plants do not have a process that can remove 1,4 dioxane,”said Munger.

The DEQ pinpointed three wastewater treatment plants where the chemical is coming from. There’s one each in Reedsville, Greensboro, and Asheboro.

DEQ officials say they’re trying to find a solution.

“The division of water resources has been working closely with these facilities to determine ways they can work closely with their discharges to reduce the amount of 1,4 dioxane,”said Munger.

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