May 24, 2011

EPA Tests Private Wells Near Rogersville, Mo., for TCE Contamination

Agency will provide free treatment systems for wells with levels above MCL

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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 as part of a continuing investigation into trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of groundwater.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) detected the chemical solvent TCE in water samples from two non-community wells and one irrigation well in the area in March 2010. Subsequently, MDNR, EPA and Greene County Resource Management sampled 210 additional wells and found detectable concentrations of TCE in 13 wells, including five wells where TCE was detected at levels above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 5 parts per billion (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 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. He can be reached at 800.223.0425 or 913.551.7221 or at [email protected]. Owners are asked to have details of the well’s construction, including well depth, casing depth, pump depth and construction date, available.

If TCE is detected in a private well, EPA will install a treatment system at no cost to the property owner. In August 2010, EPA installed treatment systems at the five private residences where TCE 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 TCE 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 TCE and to determine the source of the contamination.

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