Chemicals detected in wastewater system at UNC Bingham Facility | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chemicals detected in wastewater system at UNC Bingham Facility

Posted by on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM

toluene.jpg
Three chemicals, including one that can affect the nervous system, have been detected in wastewater at UNC’s Bingham Facility—formerly known as the Farm—west of Carrboro.

Toluene, ethyl glycol and propylene glycol were detected earlier this month after facility operators smelled an “unusual odor” coming from the septic tank of the domestic wastewater system, according to a letter sent yesterday from UNC to N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Water Quality.

These chemicals are being used in construction at the site and according to an e-mail sent from UNC to neighbors of the facility, it is believed the chemicals reached the septic tank through the sewer lines from the new building. The chemicals remain inside a storage area used for holding wastewater until it can be pumped and hauled away.

Toluene may affect the nervous system. Low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped.

Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time can causes dizziness or sleepy. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death. High levels of toluene may affect the kidneys.

UNC has shut down the wastewater system while contractors investigate the cause of several breaches that have occurred since last fall. In the meantime, the university has been pumping and hauling treated wastewater to Mason Farm treatment plant, which is operated by the Orange Water and Sewer Authority.

However, OWASA told UNC it could not accept the wastewater because of the high concentrations of toluene.

UNC has contracted with Clean Harbors to dispose of the contaminated wastewater and to clean out the system.

Since last fall, the facility has been plagued with problems, including leaks in storage ponds that hold treated wastewater. Some of that wastewater—while treated, it is not sterile—reached nearby Collins Creek.

N.C. DENR has issued two notices of violation to the facility and threatened to fine UNC as much as $25,000 if the issues are not addressed.

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

It would have better served the community to televise the debate on one of the local news channels. Many of …

by K. K. on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

According to this reporting, Mayor Bell seems to be endorsing Ali primarily to keep Steve Schewel on the Council because …

by Linda Belans on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

Most Recent Comments

It would have better served the community to televise the debate on one of the local news channels. Many of …

by K. K. on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

According to this reporting, Mayor Bell seems to be endorsing Ali primarily to keep Steve Schewel on the Council because …

by Linda Belans on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

So I guess the only question open in this election is:
Who, if anyone, does Pierce Freelon endorse?
(As …

by JoeJoey on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

Yes, I really hope this is put on YouTube or something. It would maximize voter reach, especially as there are …

by JohnnyDollar on Raleigh Mayoral Rivals Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis to Tape Debate That Will Air Friday and Sunday (News)

We are lucky to have had such a primary field of bright, excellent, visionary candidates for Mayor of Durham, and …

by Sam M-B on Bill Bell Endorses Farad Ali for Mayor of Durham (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation