EPA, DEQ Reach Agreement with Dow to Protect Plaquemine Water Source

Oct. 11, 2004

State and federal environmental agencies reached an agreement with Dow Chemical Company to ensure the water source for Plaquemine, La., remains protected from contamination found in the ground-water north of the city. The city's water system currently meets all state and federal health-based drinking water standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The agreement calls for Dow to take several actions. Dow will monitor wells in the area, including the city's sentinel wells, to assess movement of the contamination.  Dow will evaluate options for treatment and implement one of those options should the contamination reach the city's sentinel wells. Dow will also conduct a re-mediation study to assess the need and options for long-term re-mediation of the ground-water contamination.

"This agreement helps the community of Plaquemine by ensuring the water supply receives the protection it needs," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "It brings action to Plaquemine in a better, quicker way and prevents years of litigation."

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality played a critical role in reaching the agreement. DEQ will continue to coordinate with EPA and will oversee Dow's work under the agreement.

"This agreement is a collaborative effort between DEQ, EPA and local industry to protect Plaquemine's water supply," DEQ Secretary Mike McDaniel said. "The goal is to protect the ground-water and, by working together, we can monitor the area's wells and take necessary clean-up actions if needed."

A report released today by EPA and DEQ, titled "Ground-Water Flow Directions and Source Area Evaluation for Contamination in the Plaquemine Aquifer," provides conclusions about ground-water flow directions and the mechanism of contaminant transport in the aquifer. The report is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/plaquemine_report.htm.

A copy of the agreement among EPA, DEQ and Dow is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/dow.pdf.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency