State Regulators Bring Violations Against Cities After Chemical Releases

State Regulators Bring Violations Against Cities After Chemical Releases

3:34pm Nov 15, 2019
Two major releases of 1,4 dioxane were recently discovered in the Cape Fear River Basin, which includes the Haw River (pictured), and traced back to industrial companies upstream in Greensboro and Reidsville. KERI BROWN/WFDD

State environmental regulators are bringing violation notices against the cities of Greensboro and Reidsville. This comes after water discharges were recently found containing high levels of a likely human carcinogen.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says the action stems from a violation of water quality standards and conditions of wastewater permits the cities hold with the state.

In Reidsville, the discharge of 1,4 dioxane was linked to two companies, DyStar and Unifi, and in Greensboro, to Shamrock Environmental Corporation.

When asked why the state issued violations to the cities rather than the companies where the pollutant originated, Sharon Martin with NC DEQ says it’s the municipalities’ job to manage these issues.

“Our permits are with those pre-treatment programs. So it’s the responsibility of the cities and the permit holders, as the permit holders, to investigate and deal with their industrial dischargers,” Martin says.

An official with Greensboro Water Resources recently told WFDD there's confusion about state and federal guidelines and knowing which chemicals pose the greatest threat.

The city was not ready to comment but says it is in the process of reviewing the violations.

The North Carolina DEQ says it has initiated weekly testing at Greensboro and Reidsville's wastewater treatment plants and "will continue as long as necessary." 

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