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EPA proposes adding groundwater plume in Salt Lake City to Superfund site list

Release Date: 09/14/2012
Contact Information: Contact: Matthew Allen, 303-312-6085; Ryan Dunham, 303-312-6627

EPA proposes adding groundwater plume in Salt Lake City to Superfund site list

Listing on NPL would make cleanup of the “700 South 1600 East PCE Plume” site a high priority

Contact: Matthew Allen, 303-312-6085; Ryan Dunham, 303-312-6627

(Denver, Colo. – Sept 14, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with support from Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), Salt Lake Valley Health Department, and Salt Lake City, today announced a proposal to add the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. EPA is requesting public comments on the proposed Superfund listing for 60 days after publication in the Federal Registry.

Listing on the NPL will make the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume site eligible for comprehensive assessment and cleanup through the Superfund process. It will also mandate the availability of federal funds for cleanup. Additionally, it will guarantee the public an opportunity to participate in the process.

"EPA, the State of Utah, and Salt Lake City are committed to protecting the health and well-being of the residents affected by this contamination,” said Ryan Dunham, EPA site assessment manager. “Superfund is the best tool we have to ensure the source area and the impacts associated with this contamination are comprehensively addressed."

The 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume site is located near the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center on the east side of Salt Lake City. The preliminary investigation area is bounded on the west side by 900 East, on the north at 500 South, on the east at 1600 East, and on the south by Yale Avenue.

While a detailed site assessment and investigation would occur under the Superfund process, prior sampling and investigations conducted by the State and EPA indicate groundwater in the area is contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, commonly known as PCE. The groundwater plume, first discovered in 1990 during routine sampling of the Mount Olivet Cemetery irrigation well, contains levels of PCE above federal drinking water standards. In 2010, water samples taken by the City from natural springs fed by groundwater in the area also indicated the presence of PCE.

Salt Lake City’s municipal drinking water is monitored regularly and meets safe drinking water standards. As a precaution the City has already removed a drinking water well near the plume from service. Left unaddressed, the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume is likely to grow in size, further endangering public water supplies.

The presence of PCE in natural springs and shallow ground water indicates a potential for indoor inhalation exposures through the process of vapor intrusion. A former dry cleaning facility at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center is the only identified PCE source in the area.

EPA is proposing to add eight sites nationally to the NPL today, including the 700 South 1600 East PCE Plume.

Information about how a site is listed on the NPL:

More information about the site can be obtained by visiting the following Web site:

Records are available at the following locations:

U.S. EPA, Region 8
Superfund Records Center
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202

Salt Lake City Library, main branch
210 E. 400 South, level 3
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

The public comment period on this proposal is open for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Those interested in commenting on the proposed NPL listing can submit comments on-line at identified by FDMS Docket #EPA-HQ-SFUND-2012-0647.

Written comments must be postmarked no later than November 13, 2012, identified by FDMS Docket # EPA-HQ-SFUND-2012-0647, and addressed to:

Docket Coordinator, Headquarters
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
CERCLA Docket Office (Mail Code 5305T)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460