Water board investigates perchlorate contamination source

Water board investigates perchlorate contamination source

Source: Desert Dispatch (Barstow, CA), December 18, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

It’s been more than a year since officials discovered perchlorate in Barstow’s drinking water, but a new wave of tests by water experts conducted last week should determine the extent of the plume.

Geologists and water experts began drilling and sampling groundwater Dec. 12. The sample areas are downgrade from 30433 Poplar Lane, an area believe to be the source of last year’s perchlorate contamination, according to a release from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The team finished sampling the 20 sample points Friday.

In Nov. 2010, Golden State Water Company discovered one of their wells close to the Soapmine Road area was contaminated with perchlorates — a substance often used in the production of fireworks, rocket fuel and road flares. That well is no longer in operation, according to John Dewey, spokesperson for Golden State.

According to the release, the federal Environmental Protection Agency found high concentrations of perchlorate in the soil around Poplar Street in northern Barstow during an investigation of the contamination earlier this year. The investigation also found perchlorate in two private wells on Poplar Street and in Golden State’s former public water supply well.

Federal, state, and local agencies are still investigating the former owners of a property the EPA believes to be the source of the perchlorate contamination. Former Mojave River Pyrotechnics Company, which ceased operation in the ’80s, is believed to have illegally dumped chemicals containing perchlorate salts on the property. EPA investigators handling this case were not available for comment.

Results of the samples should be available in February said Tim Post, engineering geologist with the water board. Post explained that the water board was sampling only areas downgrade of the contamination source, where the water contamination was most likely to spread. In order to accurately define the plume Post said those sample points on the outskirts must test negative for perchlorate. If not, the board will have to continue sampling next year.

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