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EPA Sampling Shows Contamination Not Spreading

Release Date: 2/25/2004
Contact Information: David Sternberg,(215)-814-5548

David Sternberg,(215)-814-5548

PHILADELPHIA - Additional EPA sampling in Chauncey, W. Va. has confirmed the presence of lead in a parking lot and dioxin in the sub-basement of an adjacent old power house. However, it also shows that the pollutants have not spread beyond those locations.

Samples taken at 87 locations in the Chaffin Hollow section did not find widespread contamination in the area along Island Creek or at the nearby Omar Elementary School. Samples were taken of soil, subsoil, surface water, creek sediment and drinking water.

An initial round of samples taken in April 2003 detected a small patch of soil with elevated lead next to the building, and pooled water in the power house basement with elevated levels of dioxin.

EPA took more samples in November 2003 to determine if lead and dioxin had migrated away from the power house building. The data did not show significant dioxin or lead outside the immediate locations where it was originally detected.

EPA On-Scene Coordinator Robert F. Kelly said the data shows a need to reduce the potential exposure to the lead and dioxin, which the power house owner is willing to do under EPA oversight. The data shows no migration of either pollutant down toward the creek.

One elevated hit of arsenic was detected along the creek bank, but no source was detected. The arsenic was isolated, not related to surrounding soils and limited, so it is not considered a health risk. Investigators noted that arsenic occurs naturally in Chauncey’s soil.

Small amounts of PCBs were detected around a concrete foundation attached to the power station. PCBs were not found in samples taken from the school area, residential properties, and soils from the creek, indicating the PCBs have not migrated from the substation.

When the weather permits, EPA plans to perform additional sampling for pesticides that were reportedly buried in the Omar Elementary School ballfield.