News Release 394

TCE found in one additional well in Rogersville area

Volume 38-394 (For immediate release)
Contact:  Judd Slivka
573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 30, 2010 – Another round of sampling of private drinking water wells west and southwest of Rogersville by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has found trichloroethylene, or TCE, in one additional well.

The department sampled 58 wells June 15 and 16 as part of the continued environmental inquiry. This included an expanded sampling area southwest and southeast of Rogersville and south of the original sampling area. Out of 121 wells sampled to date, 13 have TCE present.  Of the 13 wells, six wells have TCE levels in excess of the federal drinking water standards; however, one of those wells is not used as a drinking water source.  Those residents have been notified.

The department recently obtained access to the well that tested positive for TCE. This well is located in the original sampling area and on the same road that had four wells that previously had tested positive for TCE. The department will resample the well, both outside at the wellhead and inside from the tap, to confirm the result. A map of the sampling areas is online at dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/sfund/Rogersville.htm.

The goal of the latest effort was to try to determine the extent of TCE contamination in area wells. The geology of the area, which includes caves, springs and sinkholes, is very complex and makes identification of the source a challenge. The sampling information helps give a glimpse into what is happening below the ground. Figuring out how the TCE is distributed through area groundwater provides clues as to potential location of a contamination source. The department has also been conducting research into current and past businesses in the area to plan for sampling of potential sources in July or August.

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

The department’s inquiry started when a small cluster of wells near Compass Plaza, a commercial area on Rogersville’s western edge tested positive for TCE. Since then, the department has returned to Rogersville multiple times, testing and retesting water wells.

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 Missouri Department of Natural Resources also hosted a public meeting May 25 in Rogersville. Staff from the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Senior Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 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 online at dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/sfund/rogersville.htm.

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. Long-term exposure to low levels of TCE may increase the risk of certain health effects.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is addressing any health concerns for residents whose well water has shown TCE contamination.

Residents who want their well tested or have questions about the inquiry should contact Pia Capell with the Department of Natural Resources at 573-751-1087.

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