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U.S. EPA investigates Visalia soil and groundwater contamination / Six groundwater monitoring wells to be installed this week

Release Date: 03/03/2009
Contact Information:

********Media Availability Tuesday March 3, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.*********

    (SAN FRANCISCO) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin installing six groundwater monitoring wells in Visalia this week to test for p erchloroethylene (PCE) -- a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing.

    The federal EPA is working collaboratively with California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control to investigate possible soil and groundwater contamination in the city of Visalia. The investigation began after DTSC identified 25 public drinking water supply wells with the cleaning solvent in their water. These PCE impacts are thought to be related to solvent releases from dry cleaning operations in Visalia.

    Users of the public water supply are not being exposed to contaminated drinking water. The impacted wells are controlled by the well operators and monitored by the California Department of Public Health. Since this discovery, measures have been taken, including closing the wells of concern and enhanced monitoring of operating wells. This is to ensure that drinking water in Visalia meets state and federal safe drinking water standards.

    The EPA will obtain and analyze environmental samples and investigate potential human and environmental exposure to hazardous substances.
    Monitoring wells will be installed at the following locations:
      • 215 North Locust Street
      • Willis Street (517 W. Main St Street)
      • N. Willis Street (520 W. Main St Street)
      • North Encina Street (225 W. Oak Ave)

    The sampling will occur between March 2, 2009 and March 13, 2009.

    The EPA will host a media availability for reporters to gather video & audio of well installation on Tuesday March 3 at 1:30 p.m near the corner of West Acequia Avenue & South Willis Street in Visalia. Subject matter experts will be on-hand to provide a brief update and participate in a Q & A session with the media. Reporters who would like to attend should RSVP via email to simms.mary@epa.gov in advance. Please include name, affiliation, and contact information.

    U.S. EPA Media Contact: Mary Simms, 415-760-5419, simms.mary@epa.gov
    California DTSC Media Contact: Claudia Loomis, 916-255-6578

    For more information please visit:
    http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SiteCleanup/Projects/upload/VisaliaDryCleaners_FS_SamplingWork_0109.pdf
    California DTSC Public Participation Specialist: Nathan Schumacher, (916) 255-3650 or NSchumac@dtsc.ca.gov

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