City to expand original testing boundary near toxic schools

City to expand original testing boundary near toxic schools
May 07
00:00 2015

Residents in the Hanes-Lowrance community received a letter last week informing them that the City of Winston-Salem will be expanding its scope into potential groundwater contamination in the area.

The letter, signed by Stormwater/Erosion Control Director Keith Huff, said that “based upon raw laboratory results, the city has decided to expand environmental assessment activities to the south and west of the original six block area.”

On March 31, a meeting was held at the Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center to discuss groundwater pollution stemming from the Kaba Ilco facility on Indiana Avenue. The pollution is believed to have contributed to the removal of students at Hanes and Lowrance Middle Schools by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board. Since seeing the children  moved, neighbors became concerned about their own safety.

Huff said that the preliminary data has warranted the city to believe the pollution plume may go farther than shown in the last-measured 2007 map.

“We have put our initial wells in and some of the southwestern wells, mainly well five and well eight on the outer perimeter, have come back with detections of Perchloroethylene (PCE) and Trichloroethylene (TCE) in them,” he said.

Well five is at the corner of 27th and Ivy and well eight is between 27th and 25th Streets on Ivy.

The new sample boundary lines will be increased to Glenn Avenue and 24th Street. The city will begin installing 28 monitoring wells, 14 to sample the area’s groundwater and 14 to sample soil vapor points.

“Part of our goal was to characterize how far the pollutant plume has traveled. With this data, clearly it has traveled farther south and west,” Huff said. “All this means right now is that we are putting more wells in to try to identify where the groundwater pollution is and what concentration it’s at.”

Those wells will not go in until at least June. Results from this sampling event, named Phase II, are expected to be available to the public by the end of August 2015.

Huff said that the data doesn’t mean there’s a health risk to residents or their property.

“This just means we need to go further to characterize the extent of the plume,” he said. “It doesn’t correlate to there being a health risk in those areas. It just means that the city is moving further to verify the extent of the groundwater pollution plume.”

Originally, the city was going to sample the area around the school with 28th and 25th Streets as the northern and southern boundaries, while Ivy and Patrick Avenues served as the western and eastern boundaries.

Since April 1, the city has installed a total of 32 permanent monitoring wells in the area. Sixteen of those wells are for sampling groundwater and the remaining 16 are to monitor soil vapor.

Samples of soil, soil vapor and groundwater were submitted for analysis. While the city has received some raw data from the laboratory, environmental sampling reports and hydrological modeling must be completed. The city is hoping to have a comprehensive report on Phase I monitoring efforts available by the end of June 2015 for the general public.

“We promised residents an update and that’s what we are giving them as to what we’re doing and where we’re going. We don’t just want to go back to the public with a list of numbers” Huff said. “Our goal is to package all of that data from Phase I and II, ship that information off to the state toxicologist, and then have the toxicologist render the health risk assessment.”

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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