Community Meeting to Discuss Next Steps - River Valley Ground Water Contamination Site, North Platte, Nebraska
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 will hold a community meeting to discuss the results of the remedial investigation in North Platte. The meeting will be held Monday, September 18, 2006, at the North Platte City Council Chambers. EPA and Nebraska Health and Human Services will be available to answer questions.
Congress established the Superfund program in 1980 in response to growing concerns over human health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program locates, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites.
EPA has completed a Remedial Investigation (RI) to determine the sources and the extent of volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination, primarily tetrachloroethene (PCE), within ground water in North Platte.
Field activities for the RI were conducted over five events between March and November 2005. During that time, 28 private wells and seven municipal wells were sampled for VOCs. Ground water samples were also collected at multiple depths from 119 temporary wells and from 51 additional borings. Approximately 60 soil samples were collected from 10 potential source areas including current and former dry cleaning facilities, a former vehicle repair shop, and along sewer lines. Indoor air samples were collected from basements or crawlspaces at selected residences and businesses located within the area of ground water contamination. Surface water, sediment, sewer and tree core samples were also collected and analyzed in an effort to define the extent of contamination and identify potential contaminant migration pathways.
EPA sent the results of laboratory testing to all residents who were sampled. For residents who had private wells with VOCs in excess of the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant levels, EPA worked with the city, state, and the homeowner to determine the best strategy for preventing exposure to the contamination.
A Nebraska Department of Health public water supply sampling program (1988) initially detected VOC contamination in some of the 17 municipal wells that serve the city of North Platte. Since then, several VOCs have been identified in ground water samples collected during subsequent site investigations, including an EPA investigation in 2002. That investigation confirmed the detection of PCE in soil at one location, and indicated that the ground water had been impacted by VOC contamination beneath the site.
In June 2004, EPA's Removal Program conducted sampling as part of a removal assessment that looked for VOCs in private wells. EPA worked closely with the state of Nebraska and the city of North Platte to conduct this effort.
The area sampled covered most of the city of North Platte. Sample results showed most of the private drinking water wells were clear of any contamination. However, some wells showed high levels of VOCs. This area is generally north of 4th Street and east of Poplar Street extending out to the city limits on the north and east.
The chemicals present at the site include PCE and other VOCs. VOCs are carbon-containing compounds that evaporate easily from water into air at normal air temperatures. VOCs are contained in a wide variety of commercial, industrial and residential products including fuel oils, gasoline, solvents, cleaners and degreasers, paints, inks, dyes, refrigerants and pesticides.
EPA estimates that VOCs are found in one-fifth of the nation's water supplies. When VOCs are spilled or improperly disposed of, a portion will evaporate, but some will soak into the ground.
In soil, VOCs can be carried deeper by rain, water or snow melt. If
they reach the ground water table, they can persist for years. When
these VOCs migrate underground to nearby wells, they can eventually end
up in drinking water supplies.
The RI determined that widespread PCE contamination in ground water appears to be the result of releases from at least four former dry cleaning facilities and, very likely, from sewer lines leading from these former facilities. Two of these former cleaners were located in the northeast area of town, one was located downtown, and one was located in the southwest part of town.
Based on the average concentration of VOCs detected in samples, it was determined that exposure to ground water contamination could result in unacceptable risks.
Response actions already implemented as a result of ground water contamination in North Platte include the closure of municipal wells, and the expansion of the public water supply to connect residences that previously relied on privately owned, contaminated wells for drinking water.
Based on data obtained during the RI, at least one municipal well and multiple privately-owned wells have the potential to be impacted by unacceptable levels of contaminants.
Verified through numerous sampling events by EPA and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the public water supply has continued to be a safe drinking water source for the residents of North Platte.
River Valley Ground Water Contamination
EPA invites you to attend a community meeting on the River Valley Ground Water Contamination Site. Staff members will discuss the investigation, and answer questions, one-on-one. The meeting will be Monday, September 18, 2006, starting at 7:00 p.m. at the:
City Council Chambers
211 W. 3rd Street
North Platte, Nebraska
For more information, contact:
Community Involvement Coordinator
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on this Fact Sheet, the meeting, or the Site, please contact:
Community Involvement Coordinator
901 N. Fifth Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Phone: 913/551-7003 or
Toll free: 1-800-223-0425