In March 2010 the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Public Drinking Water Branch found trichloroethylene, or TCE, in two non-community wells and one irrigation well on the western edge of Rogersville. The department's Public Drinking Water Branch referred the site the department’s Superfund Section to investigate  the source and extent of TCE. There are numerous private wells within a one-mile radius of these three contaminated wells.

During March, April and June of 2010, 121 private wells were sampled.  TCE has been detected in 13 wells. Six of the 13 have TCE above the maximum contaminant level, or the federal standard. To eliminate the immediate exposure to affected citizens, the department referred the site to EPA for time critical removal actions on May 6, 2010. 

Site Reassessment Report Positronic Industries, Inc. Site

Rogersville May 25, 2010, Meeting

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources hosted a public meeting May 25, 2010, to discuss TCE found in water wells in the Rogersville area. Staff from the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Senior Services, EPA, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, and the Greene County Resource Management Department’s Environmental Section were at the meeting to answer area residents' questions. Information presented at the meeting is available below.

Sampling efforts and actions

Compass Plaza map

This map shows all of the wells that were sampled through June 16, 2010. The yellow marks indicate wells that had detects of TCE and the red marks indicate wells that had TCE above the federal standard.

In July 2010, the department continued its effort to pinpoint the source of TCE in the area’s groundwater.

During this sampling event the department collected:

  • Soil samples at a former debris burn area used after the 2007 ice storm.
  • Soil samples at the location of a former dry cleaner located at Compass Plaza.
  • Soil samples at a private residence and at the former Positronics location. 
  • Water samples from three private wells that serve businesses located near Mid AM Metals.

TCE was not present in a majority of these samples. In the few samples where TCE was present, it was in concentrations far below the federal standard. A resampling of a private well with the highest level of TCE near Rogersville showed the well continued to have TCE present in levels above the federal standard. Soil at the residence was also tested for TCE and other volatile organic compounds and none were detected. The department also sampled five springs in the area. There was no TCE detected in these samples.

 Below is the sampling plan, and sampling report with results for the July 2010 sampling event.

EPA installed water treatment systems on five wells in August 2010 and is monitoring their effectiveness of the wells to remove TCE from the water. EPA also sampled some additional private drinking water wells and found one more well with TCE.  

In September 2010, following a heavy rain, the department re-sampled all the wells that had TCE detects. The sampling was conducted to see if the rain event had any impact on the TCE concentration. The results showed that TCE concentration decreased in some wells and were non-detect in some wells.

In October 2010, EPA sampled 51 additional private drinking water wells. No TCE was detected in any of them.

The well with the highest TCE level was plugged and the EPA drilled a new well for the residence in December 2010. TCE was not detected in the new well. Also in December, EPA sampled 65 private drinking water wells that had not been sampled and wells with TCE previously detected.

In February 2011 EPA sampled 25 more private wells. No new wells had TCE detected.   

In February, the department completed and submitted to EPA an Integrated Site Inspection Removal Site Evaluation Report documenting the department’s investigation. The report recommended further investigation to identify the source, continued monitoring of the water treatment systems and evaluating the site for the National Priorities List.

Next Steps

The department continues to monitor the drinking water at the Logan-Rogersville primary, middle and high schools and Rogersville’s two municipal wells. To date, none of these wells have shown TCE contamination.

The department will continue to work with the EPA, the city of Rogersville, county officials in both Webster and Greene counties and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to better understand the extent of TCE in the western Rogersville area groundwater.

EPA will continue to sample private drinking water wells in the area. As of April 4, about 235 of the 500 wells within four miles radius of the initial of TCE detection have been sampled.

EPA will also continue to install water treatment systems on residential drinking water wells with TCE in excess of the federal drinking water standard.

More information on EPA's actions at the site, including the site being considered for the National Priorities List, is available on their website.

What is TCE?

Trichloroethylene is a nonflammable, colorless liquid. It is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids and spot removers.


Residents with questions about the department's investigation should contact Pia Capell at 573-751-2115. Residents with any health questions or concerns should contact Jonathan Garoutte with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 573-751-6102.