South Carolina Agency Reaffirms Water Quality Safety

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November 29, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Cannon's Campground residents in Spartanburg, S.C., were again assured by state officials that the drinking water in their community is safe and groundwater contamination from the former Hoechst Celanese plant does not pose a public health threat, nor is it linked to dozens of cancer cases in the community.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) held a second community meeting Monday (Nov. 28) to address residents' concerns. About 50 people attended, the Spartanburg Herald Journal reported.

Attendees were updated on findings from sediment samples from Cherokee Creek. Samples confirmed the presence of the chemical dowtherm, but officials do not know where the chemical came from.

PCBs, or Polychlorinated Biphenyls, man-made organic chemicals with a "range of toxicity" that were banned in 1979, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website, also were found. Officials have asked Celanese to develop an assessment plan on the PCBs.

Several other compounds at trace levels were found in the sediment. Those chemicals could be from groundwater plumes coming up and leaching into sediment or a possible spill.

Results of water samples from 19 residential wells were discussed.

Ken Taylor, director of division of site assessment, remediation and revitalization with DHEC, said they found low levels of 1,4-Dioxane in five wells. Taylor said the Environmental Protection Agency does not have a drinking water standard for the chemical but suggests a risk base number of 670 parts per trillion, he said.

One woman questioned what to do now that chloroform was detected in her well water. She said no chloroform was found when it was tested three months ago.

Chloroform is an unknown human carcinogen but has been shown to cause cancer in animals, an official said.

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