The chemical “slug” is just arriving at the Pittsboro water intake. Here’s what you need to know.

Water samples taken by Pittsboro officials Friday morning show a drop of 1,4-dioxane just beginning to reach the city’s drinking water intake on the Haw River.

Authorities detected 3.07 parts per billion of the toxic chemical in raw water collected during its intake, Pittsboro spokesman Colby Sawyer wrote in a news release. The chemical was not detected at five other sampling points in the city, including in treated water.

“The City is cautiously optimistic about these results, as they indicate that the City’s response plan for 1,4 dioxane events was successful in maintaining our water supply while limiting the uptake of the substance into the water. our water distribution system,” Sawyer wrote.

The city of Burlington, up the Haw from Pittsboro, reported Wednesday afternoon that it had discovered a spike in 1,4-dioxane in a wastewater sample taken early Tuesday. Burlington has since indicated that it believes Apollo Chemical, a local company whose wastewater is sent to the South Burlington Wastewater Treatment Plant, could be the source of the chemical.

The Environmental Protection Agency has classified 1,4-dioxane as a probable human carcinogen. The chemical is used as an industrial solvent and stabilizer.

North Carolina has set a target level of 0.35 ppb in drinking water sources. Burlington’s wastewater sample found 545 ppb.

In an effort to avoid drawing 1,4-dioxane into the city’s water system, Pittsboro is urging its residents and water customers to avoid non-essential uses. This means avoiding washing cars, watering lawns, or running partial loads in dishwashers or washing machines until the chemical has entirely left town.

“The city will not draw additional water until our water supply reaches its minimum limit, and only enough to maintain daily usage will be withdrawn,” Sawyer wrote.

Drinking water treated with reverse osmosis and ultraviolet filtration is available free of charge at Chatham Marketplace, 480 Hillsboro St.,…

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