U.S. Water News Online
OGDEN, Utah -- A toxic chemical used in rocket fuel has
caused increasing concern for its contamination of water supplies
through much of the Southwest, and Utah, which played a major role in
rocket-motor manufacturing, has known areas of groundwater
How much of the chemical, perchlorate, can be in drinking water
before it is dangerous is still in question.
There are three plumes of groundwater in Utah that are known to
have perchlorate contamination, said Bill Wallner of the Utah
Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste.
One, from Hill Air Force Base, is part of an already
well-documented plume of solvent-contaminated water left over from
World War II and postwar waste disposal at the base.
That plume is spreading west of the base into Roy.
The second is near Thiokol, west of Brigham City. Wallner said it
is spreading south into an area where there are a few ranches.
The third is around the Alliant Techsystems (formerly Hercules)
facilities in West Valley City and Magna. Some of that has started to
show up in a few drinking water wells in Magna, ``and more
extensively we are seeing drinking water contamination in the
drinking water system that Kennecott has,'' Wallner said.
Rachel Cassidy, a researcher at the state Division of Drinking
Water, said there are ``a couple of wells'' in the Magna area where
some perchlorate has been detected, but in such small amounts that by
the time it is mixed with water from the city's other wells ``it
doesn't show up at all.''
One well in the Thiokol area has some, she said, but it is not
At Kennecott, bottled water is being provided for employees and
filters are being put on taps in kitchens and break rooms.
``So it is something that is on our radar screen, it is something
we're keeping an eye on,'' Cassidy said. ``We're lucky here in Utah
in that we haven't had the devastating problems we have in other
areas. I feel very lucky.''
Wallner said the plume hear Hill Air Force Base already is the
target of a Superfund cleanup program.
``We're actively involved with the problems at Thiokol and Alliant
Techsystems,'' he said, which is simplified now that both rocket
makers are owned by Alliant Techsystems.
``We're still trying to figure this one out as well as everyone
else in the country,'' he said. ``This did not become an issue until
1997 and there's been a large national push to find out how to deal
Return to 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.