State wastewater treatment authorities in New York say they are implementing new technology that targets the long-term treatment of 1,4-dioxane pollution.
The pollution of waterways across North America with the cosmetics chemical that is used as a stabilizer and solvent has received increasing media coverage in recent years, putting pressure on the cosmetics industry to do something about it.
But now it seems that the US Environmental Protection Agency is about to try out the new treatment at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York, to determine if it will be a viable long-term option to coping with the effects of the chemical.
Cleaning up pollution
The plant began operating at the beginning of this year and was specifically constructed with the aim of cleaning up significant pollution caused by industrial output during the 50s and 60s that contaminated groundwater, surface water, soil and sediment in the area.
Now the facility is being retrofitted with the new technology , which is expected to be fully operational by November 2014. If successful it could prove a test case for future retrofits that may be applied to EPA treatment facilities nationwide.
Once the new system is up and running, the EPA says that it will conduct sampling data on the individual tanks used in the water processing treatment, which will be discharged when and if they fulfill requirements.
Replacing carbon filtration
Currently the primary means of removing 1,4-dioxane from the treated water is a carbon filtration system, which the EPA says will remain in effect while the new technology is being fitted.
Although there is currently no discharge limit for 1,4-dioxane in treated water, the additional technology is being added because the EPA and the big companies that dispose of waste materials using the facility have agreed that it is looks likes the best long-term treatment option for the chemical.
In recent years, the environmental impact of 1,4-dioxane has put the chemical in the spotlight, forcing many of the big cosmetics and personal care companies to phase out its used in formulations.
Back in August 2012, Johnson & Johnson became the first player in the US to announce the phase out of the chemical from its formulation following pressure from environmental lobby groups, which led to a number of other players voluntarily phasing the chemical out.