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EPA invites public comment on Chehalis area groundwater cleanup

Release Date: 10/02/2012
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

(Seattle—October 2, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency invites public comment on a draft plan to clean up contamination at the Hamilton-Labree Superfund site near North Hamilton and Labree Roads, south of Chehalis, Washington.

EPA will hear comments on the cleanup plan at a public meeting on Tuesday, October 23, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Museum, 100 SW Veterans Way, in Chehalis. EPA staff will be available to answer questions at a 5:00 p.m. Open House. Comments on the cleanup plan should be sent to EPA, postmarked or emailed by November 9.

The site is contaminated with perchloroethylene or PCE, and other chemicals. EPA’s proposed cleanup will use both heat (thermal) and biological treatment to break down and remove PCE from the sediment, soil, and groundwater. The cleanup will also re-route Berwick Creek around the contamination areas to help protect fish and animals in the creek from possible negative impacts caused by cleanup activities.

PCE is a chemical used for dry cleaning, metal degreasing and other industrial processes. PCE can cause cancer in people exposed to the chemical by touching, drinking or breathing vapors from the chemical. Other names for PCE include tetrachloroethene and tetrachloroethylene.

The PCE-contaminated groundwater flows west and northwest along the Newaukum River valley. Many homes and businesses at the site currently use drinking water from the city of Chehalis municipal system. The PCE needs to be cleaned up to keep contaminated groundwater from spreading down the valley, putting homes and businesses on private wells at risk from the PCE-contaminated groundwater.

The cleanup plan is available online at http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/cleanup.nsf/sites/HLabree.