Technical Update – 1,4 Dioxane Analyses in Certified Mobile Labs from COLUMBIA Technologies

by admin / Wednesday, 28 October 2015 / News, Uncategorized

1,4-Dioxane contamination is progressively on the rise. The EPA has calculated a screening level of 0.67μg/L for 1,4-dioxane in tap water, based on a 1 in 10-6  lifetime excess cancer risk, raising increasing concerns at the federal and state level.  Mobile laboratory analyses provide the rapid real-time support needed to assess sites impacted with dioxane.  COLUMBIA Technologies is pleased to share this technical update on the contaminant 1,4-Dioxane, what you need to know and current solutions that are readily available.

What is it?

1,4-Dioxane is a likely human carcinogen and found in groundwater at sites throughout the United States.  Several states have established criteria for 1, 4-Dioxane limits and action, including Florida groundwater at 3.2ug/L, EPA NCEA tap water at 3ug/L, and EPA Regions 3, 6, and 9 at 6.1ug/L in tap water for Risk Based Concentrations, Screening Levels, and Preliminary Remediation Goal, respectively.

Where does it come from?

Primarily used as a solvent in the 1920’s-1950’s, 1,4-dioxane was used as a stabilizer for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) in the 1960’s. 1,4-dioxane was added to TCA solvents at concentrations of 5-8%. It has been used as a stabilizer in chlorinated solvents, waxes, paint strippers, and greases.

Due to its physical and chemical properties, Dioxane is usually one of the most mobile contaminants at solvent release sites, and the footprint of the Dioxane plume may be many times larger than the plume of TCA and its breakdown products. Dioxane plumes have been documented to measure twice the length of the associated solvent plumes and to affect an area up to six times greater. Some closed TCA sites have been re-opened for Dioxane.

What does it do?

1,4-Dioxane is classified by the EPA as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group A3 carcinogen—confirmed animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans (ACGIH 2011).  Short-term exposure may cause eye, nose and throat irritation; long-term exposure may cause kidney and liver damage.  The physical and chemical properties and behavior of 1,4-dioxane create challenges for its characterization and treatment. It is highly mobile and has not been shown to readily biodegrade in the environment.

How can we help? – High Resolution Profiling PLUS Certified Mobile Laboratory

High resolution technologies including the Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) and Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT) offer proven methods for the rapid mapping and delineation of cVOCs.  These systems provide a reliable method for identifying and separating primary chlorinated solvents from the stabilizer 1,4-Dioxane.  HPT provides accurate delineation of higher permeability strata likely to be zones of transport for the highly soluble 1,4-Dioxane.

In addition, COLUMBIA Technologies offers NELAC certified mobile lab testing for 1,4-dioxane, alone or in conjunction with EPA Method 8260 - Volatile Organic Compounds, with a Method Detection Limit (MDL) of 0.8 ug/L and a reporting limit of 2.0ug/L.

Our mobile lab provides real-time analysis and data along with all relevant QC allowing for real-time decision making during site characterization and remediation. Paired with our Smart Data Solutions® reports, COLUMBIA Technologies is able to provide detailed high resolution location and depth-specific data allowing for accurate site modeling.

COLUMBIA Technologies is readily available to address this concern. To schedule a meeting, please email us at, and to learn more about 1, 4-Dioxane, please visit our COLUMBIA-Technologies-Technical-FactSheet.

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