May 24, 2011

Testing of Private Drinking Water Wells Continues at Missouri Site

Workers are investigating possible trichloroethylene contamination of groundwater

EPA staff and contractors will be continuing work near Rogersville, Mo., this week to conduct sampling efforts at private drinking water wells in the vicinity of the Compass Plaza commercial development—part of a continuing investigation into trichloroethylene contamination of groundwater.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials detected the chemical solvent in water samples from two non-community wells and an irrigation well in the area in March 2010. Subsequently, officials sampled 210 additional wells, and found detectable concentrations in 13, including five where the chemical was detected at levels above the maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb.

EPA staff and contractors will be working in the area to offer sampling of private drinking water wells at no charge to property owners. Well owners may be approached by EPA representatives to inquire about their interest in sampling, or owners may contact the EPA to request sampling.

Property owners wanting their wells to be sampled should contact Doug Ferguson at EPA Region 7 to arrange a date and time for sampling to occur. Owners are asked to have details of a well’s construction, including well depth, casing depth, pump depth and construction date.

If the chemical is detected in a private well, EPA officials will install a treatment system at no cost to the property owner. In August 2010, EPA workers installed treatment systems at the five private residences where the chemical was detected at levels above 5 ppb, all at no cost to the owners.

So far, the investigation has not been able to determine how long the contamination has been present in area groundwater. Meanwhile, response actions—including well testing and the installation of treatment systems—are being conducted to address the potential for exposure to the chemical and to determine the source of the contamination.

Trichloroethylene is a colorless manufactured liquid that does not occur naturally in the environment. Long-term exposure at elevated levels is suspected of causing cancer, as well as liver problems and weakening of the immune system.