News Release 152

Department begins inquiry into well contaminants near Rogersville

Volume 38-152 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 25, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has begun an inquiry into the source of a chemical used in cleaning solvents that has been found in a small cluster of wells west of Rogersville located eight miles east of Springfield on U.S. Highway 60.

The department is inquiring into the source of trichloroethylene, commonly referred to as TCE, found in three wells near Rogersville. While none of the wells sampled had TCE in excess of the federal drinking water standards, the presence of the contaminant in a localized number of wells prompted the department to initiate the inquiry.

The department’s inquiry is focused on the area near Compass Plaza, a commercial area on Rogersville’s western edge. The initial detection of TCE was found in a well that serves Compass Plaza. Subsequent testing found the contaminant in two other nearby wells.

Identifying the extent of the contamination is one of the first steps in identifying the likely source. The department will begin collecting water samples from residences served from private water wells in the area where the contamination was found. The department has already sampled the drinking water at the Logan-Rogersville primary, middle and high schools and found no TCE contamination. Also, Rogersville’s two municipal water wells showed no TCE contamination.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will continue to work with 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.

Trichloroethylene is a nonflammable colorless liquid 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. In concentrated form it has a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste, but it would be unlikely that such characteristics would be noticed in water with TCE contamination.

Residents with any health questions or concerns should contact Jonathan Garoutte with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 573-751-6102.

The department will contact residences with private wells in the area to request permission to sample their water. There is no cost to the resident. Residences who want their well tested or have questions about the investigation should contact Julieann Warren with the Department of Natural Resources at 573-751-1087 or Wally Miller at 417-891-4338. For more information on the inquiry, visit the department’s website at