U.S. Water News Online
ALBUQUERQUE -- Contractors for the Environmental Protection
Agency have started cleaning up a plume of contaminated groundwater
in downtown Albuquerque.
The Fruit Avenue Plume -- at least 544 feet deep and about a mile
long by a half-mile wide -- could take $8 million and 30 years to
clean up. The EPA has supplied $4 million to get the project under
The plume consists of water contaminated by trichloroethane, a
cancer-causing chlorinated solvent known as TCE. The EPA said it
poses no immediate health risk, but the solvent could threaten
municipal water supplies within five years if it's not cleaned up.
The solvent leaked into the groundwater from a dry-cleaning
business once located in the area. The plume was discovered in 1989
and was designated as an EPA Superfund site in 1999.
Contractors must first install monitoring wells at eight sites
within the plume area to start the cleanup process. A drilling crew
has begun sinking boreholes for the wells.
Once installed, the wells will be checked quarterly.
The EPA cleanup plan calls for removing TCE from the ground above
the water table, pumping water out of the plume, removing the TCE by
treating the water with chemicals and then reinjecting the water.
Randall Hicks, a geologist hired by the Downtown Action Team,
suggested an alternative plan this summer. He said the EPA plan takes
too long and costs too much.
He proposed a ``natural cleansing'' method that he said would take
two years and would cost as little as $150,000, but the EPA decide to
go ahead with its own plan.
Earlier this year, State Engineer John D'Antonio ordered that no
new water wells be drilled within the site to ensure that residents
would be protected while the cleanup is under way.
the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.