Charlotte officials find ethanol at plant

The Associated Press

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CHARLOTTE — More problems at sewage treatment plants in Charlotte.

Officials said Sunday that ethanol was illegally dumped and flowed into a sewage treatment plant. Last week, officials found material containing PCBs in another plant.

Charlotte officials initially worried that another batch of chemicals containing PCBs had been dumped into the system. PCB’s, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in a wide variety of products, including electrical transformers and capacitors, caulk and paint, and were banned in 1979.

Officials determined the latest material was ethanol, a fuel and solvent.

Officials said they don’t think the dumping of ethanol into the system leading to the Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is related to the earlier discovery of PCB-laced material at the Mallard Creek Wastewater Plant.

Neither incident poses a threat to drinking water, officials said. They have asked people to avoid contact with water from Little Sugar Creek, Mallard Creek and Rocky River in neighboring Cabarrus County until more testing is done.

City Manager Ron Carlee said authorities have not determined whether the latest spill was accidental or intentional.

“It appears to be coincidental, strangely coincidental,” Carlee said.

Officials have not said how much ethanol went into the system.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department opened an emergency operations center Sunday to respond to both the spills.