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Comment Period Ends On Martinsville Well Contamination

Martinsville contaminated well site

Photo: Kyle Clayton / WFIU-WTIU

One of the three city wells that supplies Martinsville with drinking water.

The public comment period closes Monday for a proposed Superfund site listing in Martinsville. One of the city’s wells contains increasing levels of tetrachloroethylene, a chemical commonly used in dry cleaning. The city’s monitoring system also occasionally detects the chemical in the other two city wells.

The Environmental Protection Agency says there is no official deadline for the decision to place the site on the Superfund National Priorities List. The EPA site coordinator Nuria Muniz says no comments have been received for the site yet, but some may possibly come in at the last minute.

The chemical migrated from one or more businesses, including a former dry cleaner, into the groundwater that supplies the city’s wells. Federal funds can be used if EPA is unable to identify responsible parties and compel them to conduct the investigation and treatment.

To ensure safe drinking water for Martinsville, the city water treatment plant uses an expensive filtering system to remove the chemical. As a more long-term solution, Martinsville city officials hope to ultimately use new well sites for city drinking water.

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