Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

MAIN STREET GROUND WATER PLUME
BURNET, TX

Health & Environment

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Contaminant Information

PCE was detected in groundwater above the EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCL – the health based limits) of 5 ug/L in three existing wells and one newly installed EPA monitoring well. All wells with concentrations above the MCL are located within the City; the highest concentrations detected for three existing wells is 8.8 ug/L, and 18 ug/L for the EPA monitoring well. All other PCE detections in and south of the City were below the MCL of 5 ug/L.

 When a contaminant is released from a large area , it enters the environment. But such a release doesn’t always lead to exposure. One can only be exposed to a contaminant when one comes in contact with it. That contact and therefore that exposure can occur when you breathe, eat, or drink that contaminant, or when it touches your skin.

Even if you're exposed to the contaminant, you might not be harmed. The effect of exposure to any chemical, including PCE, depends on several factors. Whether you are harmed will depend on such factors as the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you are exposed. Harm might depend on whether you've been exposed to any other chemicals, as well as your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health. Contaminants can enter soils and groundwater through a spill at the surface. PCE in soil or groundwater can evaporate and enter the indoor air of buildings; people who occupy or visit these building may then be exposed to these compounds in indoor air.

 PCE is a colorless organic liquid with a mild, chloroform like odor. It is used primarily in the textile industry, and as a component of aerosol dry-cleaning products. Major releases of PCE to air and water are from dry cleaning and industrial metal cleaning or finishing. Water pollution can occur from PCE leaching from vinyl liners in some types of pipelines used for water distribution.

It must be noted that as of March 2018 at this Site, EPA has found only low level concentrations of tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in groundwater – just above the Maximum Concentration Level (MCL – the health based limit). EPA is presently conducting sampling of PCE levels in soils and air for the inhalation exposure assessment. Effects resulting from acute (short term) high-level inhalation exposure of humans to PCE include irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, kidney dysfunction, and neurological effects such as reversible mood and behavioral changes, impairment of coordination, dizziness, headache, sleepiness, and unconsciousness. The primary effects from chronic (long term) inhalation exposure are neurological, including impaired cognitive and motor neurobehavioral performance. PCE exposure may also cause adverse effects in the kidney, liver, immune system and hematologic system, and on development and reproduction. Studies of people exposed in the workplace have found associations with several types of cancer including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma. EPA has classified PCE as likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

 

 

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Performance Measures

EPA uses performance measures to track environmental results at Superfund sites. If you have any questions or concerns about the measures at this site, please contact the site team members listed under Site Contacts.

Read more about Superfund Remedial Performance Measures.

Performance
Measure
Status at this
Superfund Site
What does this mean?
Human Exposure Under Control Insufficient Data Yes means assessments indicate that across the entire site:
  1. There are currently no unacceptable human exposure pathways; and
  2. EPA has determined the site is under control for human exposure.

No means an unsafe level of contamination has been detected at the site and a reasonable expectation exists that people could be exposed.

Insufficient data means that, due to uncertainty regarding exposures, one cannot draw conclusions as to whether human exposures are controlled, typically because:
  1. Response to the contamination has not begun; or
  2. The response has begun, but it has not yet generated information sufficiently reliable to evaluate whether there are currently any unacceptable human exposure pathways at the site.
Groundwater Migration Under Control Insufficient Data

Yes means EPA reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination. EPA concluded the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized and there is no unacceptable discharge to surface water. EPA will conduct monitoring to confirm that affected groundwater remains in the original area of contamination.

No means EPA has reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination, and the migration of contaminated groundwater is not stabilized.

Insufficient data means that due to uncertainty regarding contaminated groundwater migration, EPA cannot draw conclusions as to whether the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized.

Construction Complete No

Yes means the physical construction of the cleanup is complete for the entire site.

No means either physical construction is not complete or actions are still needed to address contamination.

Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use No Yes means:
  1. All cleanup goals affecting current and reasonably anticipated future land uses of the entire site have been achieved, so there are no unacceptable risks;
  2. All required land-use restrictions or other controls have been put in place; and
  3. The site has achieved Construction Complete status.

No means that one or more of these three criteria have not been met. However, a site listed as no may still have redevelopment occurring on portions of the site and may be eligible for additional redevelopment.

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