North Carolina environmental officials are warning that a chemical released from a Greensboro wastewater treatment plant may impact water intakes downstream in the next few days.

The Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday that Greensboro reported a discharge of 1,4 dioxane into South Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the Haw River, from the TZ Osborne Wastewater Treatment Plant. Municipalities with drinking water intakes downstream, including Pittsboro and Fayetteville, have been notified and additional sampling is underway at the Pittsboro raw water intake.

Considering the current stream flow and the levels of the chemical in samples of the plant's effluent, officials said levels of the chemical in the Pittsboro drinking water source may exceed the EPA's drinking water health advisory level.

The source of the chemical is under investigation, department spokeswoman Anna Gurney said by telephone.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified 1,4 dioxane as a likely human carcinogen. It's a clear liquid found in paint strippers, varnishes and other solutions.

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