Woods Cross holding open houses to address contaminated wells

Mar 5 2013 - 8:13am

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WOODS CROSS -- The city is hosting three public open houses to educate residents and receive their input on how the city is to contend with four of its five groundwater wells containing PCE, an industrial contaminant.

The open houses, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 13, will be at the Woods Cross Municipal Building, 1555 S. 800 West.

The same information will be made available at each open house, officials said.

Woods Cross has four wells that are affected and North Salt Lake City has had two wells closed because of a PCE underground plume, which for more than 40 years has continued to leach from its original place of origin -- a former dry-cleaning business at "Five Points" in Woods Cross.

"Woods Cross city currently produces more than 90 percent of its drinking water supply from groundwater wells located throughout the community," said Joshua Palmer, a contracted Woods Cross City engineer.

"Even though state and federal standards are being met, the city is concerned about the continued impact of PCE on its water supply," Palmer said.

Woods Cross leaders have been discussing whether to bond for $4 million to build and operate a centralized "granular activated carbon system" to remove the PCE from the groundwater, Woods Cross Mayor Kent Parry said in an earlier story.

"It's like having a water filter on your tap, only a larger facility," with the PCE being absorbed by the carbon, he said.

The project would cost each rate payer about $10 more a month on each water bill, Parry said.

The other option would be to continue to have residents consume the water with traces of PCE in it, at levels that would put it at a "one-in-a-million" likelihood of being a cancer-causing agent, he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum contaminant level for PCE at 5 parts per billion. Some people who drink water containing PCE in excess of the maximum contaminant level over many years could have problems with their liver and may have an increased risk of getting cancer, according to the EPA website.

"The most the wells have shown (in Woods Cross) is about one-tenth of that," Parry said.

Two of North Salt Lake's groundwater wells, which are in Woods Cross, were found contaminated with PCE in 2009 and have since been shut down, North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave said.

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