City testing water to determine dioxane levels in groundwater

Columbus Utilities have sent water samples from the city’s water plant and wells for testing after a Washington D.C. environmental group reported the city’s water has a higher than recommended level of 1,4 dioxane in its drinking water four years ago.

Columbus participates in a program through the federal Environmental Protection Agency testing for unregulated contaminants every five years, and the test in 2013 revealed a .48 parts per billion test for 1,4 dioxane, a man-made chemical commonly used in industrial applications as a solvent or cleaner. The EPA’s recommended level is at .35 parts per billion, said Keith Reeves, utilities director.

The chemical is man-made and would be detected in the groundwater, utility officials said.

Water samples have been collected and have been sent to a state lab, but is unknown how long the testing will take, Reeves said. The utility is not required to routinely test for 1,4 dioxane, Reeves said, and tested for it four years ago because it was on the list the EPA sent out as part of its program.

The city’s water complies with all current standards for drinking water, he said.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.